‘I would never consider stepping down in a semifinal’: Bavuma, as Proteas return

Proteas captain Temba Bavuma has defended his captaincy at World Cup but admits to batting challenges.
Proteas captain Temba Bavuma has defended his captaincy at World Cup but admits to batting challenges.

The idea of stepping down for the World Cup semifinal against Australia did not cross the mind of Proteas ODI captain Temba Bavuma, he said as the Proteas arrived back from India on Saturday night.

Bavuma defended his captaincy and admitted to his batting woes. 

The Proteas lost their semifinal to Australia by three wickets in Kolkata on Thursday as they again failed to reach an ICC final. Bavuma came under stinging criticism after he was dismissed for a duck, having admitted he was not 100% fit the day before the semi, and there were questions about his leadership. 

Upon arrival at OR Tambo International Airport, Bavuma accepted he was not at his best with the bat but strongly defended his leadership and the team’s performances at the World Cup. 

“I am there as a captain and a batter and I have always tried to separate the two. I don’t know what the method is [that is] used to judge someone who is captaining well,” Bavuma said. 

“We won the most games in the group stages of any South African team. We have beaten teams that we have not beaten in a while at the World Cup, so what method are we going to use whether the guy has been or not doing his job as captain?” 

Bavuma scored 145 runs in eight innings in India and accepted he was not at his best. 

“As a batter I am not oblivious I was not pulling my weight from that point of view, but we take a lot of confidence from the fact that I was involved in partnerships at the top. 

“Partnerships are one of my roles in the team and you had a lot of guys who were taking on that extra responsibility from a runs point of view.

“For me to step down in a World Cup semifinal, that thought is strange. I am not someone who is going to walk away from adversity, I am not someone who is going to answer to calls from people shouting on Twitter or Facebook. Decisions I make will always be for the betterment of the team. 

“I have said it from the beginning that if any of the guys stood there and said, 'Temba, you are not the man for the job as captain,' then I would happily walk away. 

“These are the bunch of guys who we have been together since 2020. We know each other through and through, and we know what we play for. I am not the guy who is on Twitter or Facebook.” 

Bavuma defended playing in the semifinal while he was not completely fit. 

“Yes, I was not 100%, but if you know anything about professional cricket you will know guys don’t play cricket at 100% all the time. I have played games for the country with broken fingers and done well. 

“People have never questioned [when] I have played series with a groin injury and done well. So for that to be used as an excuse for the [reason] of our exit at the competition is crazy, with all due respect. 

“I think there are a lot of positives that this group has achieved. There are a lot of good things I have done too as a player. When you start throwing stats around, let’s put things into perspective. 

“Even you guys asking these questions, I should also make that clear: you can’t go and read something on social media and make it a headline. I would never consider stepping down in a semifinal — that I would never consider.” 

Bavuma said he does not see how he could have done some things differently.

“I have been racking my mind, trying to see if I could have done things differently. I really don’t see how I would have done things differently from a toss perspective because I didn’t expect conditions to be extreme in that manner. 

“I can’t see how I could have done things differently. In our chats before the game, we spoke about how every day is a good to die. We made sure we were prepared for every eventuality and that we would do everything with no regrets.”


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