• Bavuma: I knew team backed me

    Temba Bavuma, who scored his first hundred for South Africa on Tuesday, says he didn’t feel any kind of pressure coming into the Newlands Test.

    Bavuma became the first black African batsman to score a Test hundred for South Africa, finishing the innings on 102 not out as Hashim Amla decided to declare on 627-7.

    He shared a record 167-run partnership with Chris Morris (69) to turn the game around with just a day’s play left.

    ‘Coming into Newlands, I never honestly felt any kind of pressure,’ Bavuma said at the press conference after the day’s play.

    ‘I think the pressure probably came from the media reading into our team selection, but personally I didn’t feel any kind of pressure. I knew the guys and the coach backed me so it was all up to me to try and make things happen whenever the opportunity came.’

    Bavuma, who was born in Cape Town, said it was extra special to achieve the milestone at Newlands, which he considers to be his favourite ground.

    However, it wasn’t always smooth sailing during his innings, even though he made it look easy.

    ‘When I got to 80 I felt like I was on nought again,’ Bavuma said. ‘Stuart Broad was bowling and I found him quite tough. He just kept nagging on a good length and I thought to myself, if I don’t get to that milestone, then maybe it isn’t meant to be. I just tried to take it ball by ball and luckily, in the end, things came through for me.

    ‘I felt a lot of emotion when I got the hundred,’ Bavuma said. ‘I felt relief and satisfaction. I’ve been yearning for it; I’ve been fighting for it. I think, once I got to a hundred I started over again and just tried to calm down. At the beginning of the day our mindset as batters was to try and bat out the full day, so I still had that target to achieve.’

    Bavuma says he understand that he will become a role model for millions of children across South Africa.

    ‘When I made my debut for South Africa I became more aware of the significance behind it all. It’s not just me making my debut, but also being a role model for kids and black African kids in particular. This milestone will strengthen that example.

     ‘It’s a whole lot of pressure to be honest. It’s not just something that I play towards. Me walking on the field is not just me walking on the field, there is a whole lot of kids. I looked today at the kids that were at the ground for the KFC Mini Cricket and half of them are from Langa.
    ‘Half of those kids know my name so whenever I go back to Langa now I know I’m going to have those kids running around me. There’s a greater significance around it, a lot of pressure but then again it is international cricket and it comes with a lot of pressure.’