Temba Bavuma has become the first Black African batsman to play for South Africa when he came into bat at No 6 in the second Test against the West Indies at St. George’s Park on Sunday.
With Quinton de Kock ruled out of the remainder of the three-match series with an ankle ligament injury, Bavuma took his place in the Proteas line-up, but did not get a chance to bat until day three due to bad weather.
The 24-year-old’s debut is a big deal for South Africa, which has fielded only five Black African players since readmission in 1991, and has not had any since fast bowler Makhaya Ntini’s last Test at the end of 2009.
However, the occasion proved to be something of an anti-climax as Bavuma lasted just 35 balls, before gloving a sharp, lifting delivery behind to depart for 10.
Despite the fact that almost 80 percent of South Africa’s population is Black, Ntini is the only cricketer to have held down a regular place in the national side, taking 390 wickets in 101 Tests.
Fast bowlers Monde Zondeki, Mfuneko Ngam and Lonwabo Tsotsobe, and wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile, all managed a combined 17 Tests.
“I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of people out there that I represent—I’m not just playing for myself,” Bavuma said on Wednesday. “I am aware, but it doesn’t really change the ballgame for me.”
Born in Langa, Cape Town’s oldest township, Bavuma was educated at a leading cricket school in Johannesburg, and played for South Africa Under-19s.
He has forged a successful first-class career, scoring 3,631 runs at an average of almost 36, and hit a career-best 162 against Australia A during a South Africa A tour in August.
South Africa made one other change to the side that thrashed the West Indies by an innings and 220 runs in the first test to take into account the different conditions in Port Elizabeth.
The Proteas fielded an all-seam attack at Centurion, but the St. George’s Park pitch is traditionally drier and slower, and so legspinner Imran Tahir replaced fast bowler Kyle Abbott.
Left-armer Robin Peterson, who was the original spinner in the squad, was ruled out of the series after splitting his left index finger during a training drill on Tuesday.
Source: Daily Mail