Injured batsman Temba Bavuma has opened up on his position, not only in the Proteas side but also as a role model for future generations of cricket-loving South Africans.
A hip strain has forced Bavuma onto the sidelines for the first Test against England, the same opponents which saw the middle-order batsman become the first black South African to score a century in the longest format of the game when he edged Steven Finn to the boundary in the New Year’s Day Test.
The feat has long since been spoken about even if the player is more than ready to be judged on his performances alone.
‘I am a black African and I am a batter. I am conscious there is a scarcity of those sorts of players in South Africa,’ Bavuma told The Telegraph.
‘I realise that every time I step out there I am carrying the hopes of many people.
‘I appreciate that this aspect is part of my narrative, but I feel the conversation has moved on,’ he adds.
‘It’s not that I am not oblivious to the broader issues [of class and race in the country], but I am a cricketer first and foremost and I am paid to score runs.’
The current vice-captain though isn’t at home resting up. He is keen to remain in the eye of the new-look management team which has seen former Test skipper Graeme Smith take over as Director of Cricket with Mark Boucher heading up the coaching team that includes Jacques Kallis and Charl Langaveldt.
‘You never want to feel like you’re trying to catch a moving train.
‘So I’ve been feeding balls in the bowling machine, fetching drinks for the bowlers, helping with catching practice. I want to be present in any way I can,’ he added.
Bavuma has 1 812 Test runs at an average of 31.24.
ODI star Rassie van der Dussen is likely to make his debut at Centurion on Boxing Day.
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