Batsman Temba Bavuma’s berth in the Test XI has been most critised player lately. Bavuma averages a moderate 33 after 59 Test innings – and has struck just one century. Temba Bavuma represents many things to many people‚ and to one former SA player is an argument for abolishing quota selection.
Former Proteas all-rounder Andrew Hall has insisted South African cricket remove racial transformation targets from selection policy.
Cricket South Africa’s current goal is to have five players of colour, two of whom must be black African, in any Test, ODI or T20I XI.
‘Realistically‚ they should be scrapped. It’s pointless to have quotas and put players under the pressure of having that tag,’ Hall was quoted as saying by Sowetan LIVE.
‘Why does he have to carry the big “Q” around his neck? He’s a superb player. Don’t put that pressure on him. Leave him alone and let him play and he’ll come good and score you runs,’ added Hall.
‘He’s showed time and time again in Test cricket that when the pressure’s on he’s bailed South Africa out of trouble.’
The diminutive right-hander struck a superb century for the Lions in One-Day Cup victory over the Titans at Senwes Park in Potchefstroo recently. He struck a ton on ODI debut against Ireland three years ago – and remains in contention for a berth in the Proteas’ World Cup squad.
“Why put extra pressure on him by making him feel like he’s playing for any other reason than he’s good enough to do it?”
Bavuma is the only black African batter to play Tests for SA — a fact his detractors‚ many of them white — tend not to mention when they take issue with what they say is his failure to convert promising starts into bigger scores more often.
His critics’ refrain is that he has reached 50 in 13 of his 59 innings but has gone on to a century only once.
They rarely add that Bavuma often comes to the crease when SA are in trouble: he has taken guard with the total still in the double figures 24 times‚ or in 40.7% of his innings.
He is often subjected to less than fair scrutiny than most players in his team and others.Bavuma can do something about scoreboard pressure‚ and he does.Not so the kind of pressure Hall talks about.Whatever else happens‚ and whether or not race continues to be a factor in how SA select their teams‚ Bavuma will always be black. And that will always bother some people.