Proteas captain Temba Bavuma has given me some serious food for thought, writes MORGAN BOLTON.
I am on a journey with Siya Kolisi at the moment.
After nearly a month, I finally got my hands on the Springbok captain’s autobiography, Rise, and so far I am appreciating the level of honesty and frankness within the book. It should come as no surprise that Kolisi has become something of a cult hero to many, and I admit unashamedly, that I am one of his fans.
So, as I turn every page of his book and explore the revelations of his professional and personal life, I find myself humanising him more and respecting the man behind the jersey even moreso. This got me thinking about the other captains of the “Big 3” sports that South Africans simply cannot get enough of.
Earlier this year, Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos named goalkeeper Ronwen Williams as his captain for the men’s senior national team, and the 29-year-old right now seems to have been an inspired choice. The goalie led from the front, while minding from the back, in the recent 2022 World Cup qualifiers, especially away against Ethiopia.
If he remains in form, there is no doubt that he will achieve great things as captain. He is not yet as talismanic as Kolisi, to be sure, but then again he has only had a handful of games to make a statement.
Which brings us to Temba Bavuma of the Proteas.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love me some Bavuma in my life, especially when he hits on the drive, but up until this week, I was very much indifferent towards him as captain of the limited-overs team.
Perhaps it was due to my current melancholy concerning the men’s senior national side, that informed this apathy towards a fine cricketer, but his appointment did not give me pause and ponder whether he was the right man for the job.
Earlier this week, I expressed my opinion that I do not believe that there is a team spirit within this Proteas squad, and that it was rather a collection of talented individuals that come together to play a team sport. I still believe this to be true, but Bavuma has given me some serious food for thought.
The entire, unfortunate fiasco with Quinton de Kock this week due to his withdrawal from the West Indies match after Cricket SA’s badly timed directive that all players must take the knee, showed us a side of the skipper we haven’t seen yet.
In a situation wherein emotions were highly charged and threatened to implode within the squad and explode among the Proteas’ fan base, the batsman ascended into his leadership role proper. He handled a tough situation with firm honesty and was sincere and empathetic.
In this regard, being the captains of the Boks and Proteas are kindred in spirit as the skipper must transcend their sport, and become an icon of unity in an often-divisive nation. Bavuma did that this week.
As De Kock said in his apology regarding the West Indian affair: “People might not recognise, but he (Bavuma) is a flipping amazing leader.”
And right now, I think it is fair to say that Bavuma, along with Kolisi and in time Williams, are leaders that we can all look up to.