Connect with us


Temba Bavuma: Batting His Way to the Top

The great thing in hitting is, not to be half-hearted about it; but when you make up your mind to hit, do it as if the whole match depended upon that particular stroke.” – W. G. Grace

Temba Bavuma has joined the Cobras to play his domestic cricket for the 2017-18 season. The move takes him back to the scene of his historic maiden Test Century and bringing to an end, an almost decade-long alliance with Gauteng and the Lions, after his first-class debut in 2008.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Can comfortably confirm I’m joining the @CobrasCricket family, I’m indebted and grateful to @GautengCricket and @HighveldLions for support in my career development, and I look forward to the new challenge and chapter in my life…,”[/perfectpullquote]

The South African took to twitter to confirm the move.

The acquisition has been dubbed a major one for the Cobras as Bavuma becomes an addition to a well-stocked team that includes the likes of Wayne Parnell, Hashim Amla, and Dale Steyn among others.

Although Bavuma’s availability for the Franchise will be limited as South Africa still has 10 home Tests on the calendar, Ashwell Prince, the Cobras coach believes Bavuma can still help the team.

He said, “South Africa will have a busy Test schedule in 2017/2018 with Test series against Australia and India on the cards, yet, Temba might still ply his trade in different formats for the Cobras.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“His experience and enthusiasm will be key factors in lifting the Cobras to new heights in all formats.”[/perfectpullquote]

Another person in agreement is chief executive Nabeal Dean who said, “”I believe that Temba, when not on international duty, can enhance the Cape Cobras’ chances significantly of winning the Sunfoil Series title and even the Momentum One Day Cup campaign.”

Early life;

One of the shortest batsmen in International Cricket history standing at 161cm, Bavuma began his career at St David’s Marist College in northern Johannesburg. He combined playing for his school with a commitment to Soweto Cricket Club, where he was mentored by Geoffrey Toyana from a young age.

When he was 18, he made his first-class debut for Gauteng and three seasons later, was playing in the franchise team, Lions.  He managed to establish himself and was named Lions Vice-captain in the 2013-14 season. Bavuma played for South Africa A after finishing as the fifth-highest run-scorer in the 2012-13 season, followed by ending sixth in 2013-14 and was later called up to the Test squad to play West Indies at the end of 2014.


Controversy surrounds Bavuma’s selection with many believing he is only playing because of the color of his skin. South Africa’s transformation targets dictate that over the course of a season, the national side must field a minimum average of six players of color including at least two black Africans in their XI.

That this is only calculated on average means that they do not need to have this composition every time they take the field but if they fall short on occasion, they need to make it up in other matches. Those who made the claim said that Bavuma’s class average is mid 30s an average that is not enough to justify his inclusion in the Test team.

However, there is more than meets the eye. Glimpses of his potential have been witnessed before for example, during the 2012-13 season; Bavuma was fifth on the first-class run charts with 537 runs at 31.58. The following summer, he played in only seven of the 10 matches and averaged 69.37, an effort that included two hundreds and four fifties.

He later stepped up in Australia where he scored fifties under pressure and starred in a match-winning partnership with Quinton de Kock in Hobart. Despite his struggles and controversy, Bavuma has kept his head high and continued to do what he has always wanted to do.

Once, when vindicated over South Africa’s controversial selection policy Bavuma said, [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“It was almost like being back at school cricket with guys going hard at me for being small. But it enabled me to knuckle down and concentrate a bit harder.[/perfectpullquote]

“Pressure is always there. As a young guy there is always pressure. I just tried to keep calm and use my opportunity. I want to make a mark on international level.”

Making the mark;

On 5th January 2016, Bavuma became the first black African batsman to score a century for South Africa. He scored one against England in the 2015/16 season reaching his century off 148 balls and finishing on 102 not out – an unbeaten record in addition to producing a piece of fielding that will be a part of highlights reels for decades to come.

“It’s a moment to cherish forever, especially here at Newlands, my favorite ground,” the South African said. “I can’t tell you what was going through my mind but there was a lot of emotion and relief. I’ve been wanting to cross that first Test hundred off.”

He made his ODI debut for South Africa against Ireland on 25 September 2016 and scored his maiden ODI century.

The 26-year-old said, “Didn’t think about scoring a hundred, just wanted to make my ODI debut and put on that shirt, never thought I would score a hundred. I am not accustomed to playing at the top of the order, but I will play wherever the team thinks I can fit in.

“I enjoyed batting with Quinny (de Kock), he makes the pitch look flat, the seniors have supported me as well. I am pretty delighted with my performance, just looking to continue playing my game.”

An ambassador for black African kids
Bavuma does not only show up when he is needed to bat the Proteas out of danger, he is also showing up for the children down in Soweto through his Temba Bavuma foundation.

Bavuma, who is from the Langa township just outside of Cape Town, has been involved in several initiatives at Langa Sports Club and through his foundation will be involved even further in the future.

“When I made my debut for South Africa I became more aware and realized the significance of it all,” he said. “It wasn’t just about me making my debut, but being a role model and inspiration for other black African kids to aspire to.

He added. “I looked today at the kids who were there for the KFC Mini Cricket Festival at lunch. Half of those kids come from Langa and half of them know my name. Whenever I go back to Langa I know I’m going to have those kids running around me.

Bavuma may be struggling at the moment, and may also be disadvantaged when it comes to height or power, but he makes up for them with his technique off the back foot, finesse, and patience which have seen him etch his name in the history books.



Photo Credit: South African batsman Temba Bavuma celebrates after scoring a century (100 runs) during day 4 of the second Test match between England and South Africa at the Newlands stadium on January 5, 2016 in Cape Town, South Africa. GUERCIA January 05, 2016. Getty Images

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Cricket

Translate »