The Proteas cricket side is unique in international cricket (and perhaps even in world sport) as their team boasts such incredible diversity, writes Proteas star TEMBA BAVUMA.
The individuals who make up the team are from different backgrounds, cultures and upbringings; we have unique stories. We have possibly become one of the most diverse teams in international sport. Although this isn’t something we, as a team, actively focus on, it is definitely something which has become a massive strength and differentiator.
Through different ideas, different approaches, different personalities, all playing and supporting under shared values and for a common purpose, our uniquely South African bond is cemented. South Africa, the Proteas and cricket bring us together, creating unity through shared passion – ensuring every time we pull on the Proteas jersey we are playing for a common goal.
This characteristic is embodied in our latest ODI shirt – my favourite yet because of what it symbolises. The shirt is our most colourful – its seven shades of green not only mirror the seven letters in the word Proteas, but also symbolise the shared values which have emerged over time and have been contributors to making the team great. Passion, Resilience, Opportunity, Trust, Excellence, Authenticity and Style.
Commitment to the Proteas is our bond, a bond that has been created through the legacies left by previous generations of Proteas players. As a boy, I always sported a green shirt while in the backyard. To me, it was the kit of legends and of my heroes.
As a Protea, I’ve come to fully appreciate the power of the shirt and of the Protea emblem. It has the ability to unite and rally South Africans behind our team. It is a reminder to us that we aren’t only playing for ourselves but for the millions of South Africans pulling for us, whether we are at home or abroad.
Like our team, our supporters also come from all walks of life and different backgrounds. Our hope is that every time a Protea or fan pulls on this shirt, they will remember these values and give their all for the side. The Protea is what defines me as a cricketer and to us it is also what defines our supporters. We tackle every game together with our fans and the kit is another platform for the fans to get behind the team – we wear it as one country.
This is especially true in this extra-special season with the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup on the horizon. We hope to see everyone at the stadiums in their green and gold supporting the Proteas in what is set to be a challenging but exciting season.
Photos: New Balance