Temba Bavuma believes Thami Tsolekile should share his match-fixing experiences.
The former Proteas wicketkeeper, who earned three Test caps, was implicated in the 2015 Ram Slam match-fixing scandal, along with Gulam Bodi (the mastermind of the operation), Ethy Mbhalati, Pumelela Matshikwe, Jean Symes, Alviro Petersen and Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
Tsolekile was slapped with a 12-year ban from the game, which ends in 2027.
Bavuma and Tsolekile both grew up in Langa township in Cape Town and saw each other again on Freedom Day when the Proteas white-ball captain returned home to do the Run4Freedom race.
“Thami knows what he did wasn’t in the spirit of the game and he regrets it every single day,” Bavuma told Sport24.
“It’s heartbreaking to see the person that he is now, and whenever I’m in Langa I try to meet up with Thami. I like to check in with the guy and make sure that he’s still here. He obviously has it tough at the moment with few opportunities coming his way.”
While Tsolekile opted not to talk about his match-fixing experiences at the Social Justice and Nation-Building (SJN) hearings, Bavuma believes he should do so to help prevent others from making the same mistake.
“With the story that he has, I do think that there is a lot that he can share with people within the game,” he said. “Through his own experiences, he can still educate and bring awareness so that they also don’t find themselves in that situation.
“It’s sad to witness his state of affairs – cricket is his life and all he knows – but to me, he’s still Thami,” Bavuma added. “Being the inspirational figure that he is in Langa, the people and community at large still love him in spite of all the negativity that surrounds his name.”