CAPE TOWN - Proteas batsman Temba Bavuma will return to the Highveld Lions after just one season at the Cape Cobras due to his pending marriage to his Johannesburg-based fiance.
Bavuma, who was born in Langa and attended Sacs junior school, joined the Cobras last season after playing his entire previous professional career at the Lions, and will return to "The Bullring" for the 2018-19 season.
“I made the decision to ply my trade for the Cape Cobras to fulfil a childhood dream of donning the blue colours, but there have been developments in my personal life that have led me to reconsider that decision," Bavuma said on Tuesday.
“I recently got engaged and feel that with my fiance in Johannesburg, it’s the favourable thing to do. I’ve enjoyed my stint with the Cobras and wish them all the best in their future endeavours."
The diminutive right-hander was seldom available to the Cobras over the past season due to international commitments with the Proteas, but did score 195 runs for the franchise in the T20 Challenge.
Cobras chief executive Nabeal Dien admitted they would miss the services of Bavuma, especially with him having carved out an iconic piece of South African cricket history at Newlands, where he registered his maiden Test century in 2016.
“We obviously lament the fact that a player who is a match winner in all formats will not be at our disposal next season, but we wish him well for the 2018-2019 season. His silky batting skills and acrobatic fielding will be missed at Newlands,” said Dien.
“It is understandable and practically makes enormous sense for Temba to return to Gauteng. Temba’s family is based there. We respect and back the decision.”
Equally, the Lions are very excited to have Bavuma back in their den, even though Bavuma’s mentor Geoffrey Toyana is no longer the coach of the Johannesburg-based franchise.
“We welcome Temba back with open arms. He is a player with special skills, experience and a star of his calibre is hard to find. We did not have the best of seasons, so it is a step in the right direction to have him back in our system,” said Lions chief executive Greg Fredericks.
The Cobras have not made any major signings for next season, with only North West batsman Janneman Malan, brother of opening batsman and current Player of the Year Pieter Malan, set to join his sibling at Newlands next season.