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Temba Bavuma wants to keep cricket ’the main focus’ amongst the Proteas

Proteas white-ball captain Bavuma takes plenty of pride in being able to navigate the shark-infested waters and still get the best out of him personally and that of his team. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Proteas white-ball captain Bavuma takes plenty of pride in being able to navigate the shark-infested waters and still get the best out of him personally and that of his team. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Jan 25, 2022

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Cape Town - "Things are okay at the moment."

That's Temba Bavuma's assessment of a summer that has seen the Proteas complete the "double" over India having won the Test series 2-1 before sweeping aside the visitors 3-0 in the ODI's.

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Many would feel that Bavuma, who is the limited-overs captain and Test deputy, would actually be elated with the results, particularly after an exhausting period for the Proteas both on and off the field over the last couple of years.

But such is the nature of South African cricket where there is always something brewing and has the potential to be increasingly toxic that just being "okay" is actually a major positive.

ALSO READ: Quinton de Kock retiring from Test cricket has ’freed him up in the white-ball format’

And for Bavuma it's even more important considering its often him that is tasked with making sense of all the dramas before taking guard in front of the cameras to try to explain to it the rest of the world.

It's a taxing responsibility, especially when its his coach Mark Boucher that is caught up in the eye of a racial storm after being charged with gross misconduct related to allegations past and present.

"I don't think it's easy (captaining the team). There are a lot of dynamics that you need to manage. For me, the biggest thing is trying to keep cricket the main focus amongst the guys," Bavuma said.

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"I hate to bring this up but it's been a challenging period for the team, for the players, for particular members of management. There's been a lot of scrutiny surrounding the team and surrounding the organisation, so to manage the conversations happening around the changeroom and to ensure our energy is 100% geared towards performing out there, for me, has been the biggest challenge. It has been a big responsibility but has also been a privilege. But it's not easy."

ALSO READ: Mark Boucher praises Proteas after India whitewash as his legal battle looms

Bavuma therefore takes plenty of pride in being able to navigate the shark-infested waters and still get the best out of him personally and that of his team.

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"You will always be judged on your record and to convincingly beat an Indian side speaks a lot to my captaincy," Bavuma said. "This was a big challenge, a big obstacle in our journey. To come out the way we did - winning Tests, winning ODIs convincingly will do a world of good. What pleased me most - if you look at the Test series, feel like it's the hardest series I've been part of.

"Even in the field the intensity. Physically we've been challenged - it's been very hot the last couple of weeks. These conditions weren't exactly South African like - more like the subcontinent.

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“It’s always nice to contribute to the team. I'm enjoying my batting at the moment. It means a lot as a player. Knowing I contributed to the winning cause makes it better," he added.

ALSO READ: Quinton de Kock century, bowlers set up Proteas’ clean sweep of India in ODI series

The Proteas won't have too much time to celebrate their Indian success as the focus now switches from white-ball cricket back to the Test format where another almighty challenge lay ahead in a couple of weeks time.

South Africa will play two Test matches against world champions New Zealand after undergoing a quarantine period upon arrival. All the matches will be played before empty stadia after the entire country was placed under the highest level of Covid restrictions on Monday after an outbreak of the Omicron variant.

@ZaahierAdams

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