FILE - Proteas limited overs captain Temba Bavuma. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
FILE - Proteas limited overs captain Temba Bavuma. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

No one will be forced to take a knee, says Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma

By Zaahier Adams Time of article published Jun 25, 2021

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CAPE TOWN – Temba Bavuma will not insist that his Proteas T20I team take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement when the five-match series starts against the West Indies in Grenada on Saturday.

Bavuma, who is the first Black African captain of the Proteas, will support the team's collective decision to express their support for social justice in their own personal manner.

After months of confusion that saw the Proteas Men's team initially doing nothing, then wearing black armbands before taking a knee and then raising a fist in solidarity, the Test side under Dean Elgar's helm recently did all of the above prior to the national anthems.

ALSO READ: Proteas boosted by Temba Bavuma return, but Dwaine Pretorius tests postive for Covid

All the West Indies players took the knee – the globally-recognised gesture of support for BLM.

It expected to remain the same at St George's ahead of the 8pm SA time start.

"The decision that has been made stands across the team, across all the formats. I was part of the decision and the discussion. It wouldn't make sense for the Test team to do one thing and the white-ball team to do another," Bavuma said at a online press briefing on Friday.

ALSO READ: ’There is no division at all’, says Lungi Ngidi after some Proteas didn’t take a knee

"I do accept the decision for the guys to be given the freedom to express whatever they want to express. At the end of the day it's a personal decision and we don't want it to get in the way of that. I believe it's the best decision to allow guys to express what they would want."

The understanding from sources within the national camp is that the Proteas are keen to create a culture where rules are not imposed on anyone and that everyone is allowed to express their beliefs and opinions – even if they have none like Quinton de Kock displayed when he simply stood to attention at the start of the first Test in St Lucia.

It appears to be an environment that is working for De Kock returned to form by finishing as the highest run-scorer over the course of the two Tests, thereby claiming the Player of the Series award. Equally, the Proteas appeared to be playing as a collective for the first time in a very long period and gained the desired results by completing a 2-0 series win.

ALSO READ: Some Proteas kneel, some don’t in support of Black Lives Matter in first West Indies Test

Bavuma is hoping this "culture" is transferred to his T20 side that are preparing for a World Cup later this year.

"The Test series obviously went exceptionally well. I think some of the outcomes and confidence from that series will be the confidence the guys will have. As much as it's a different format, there are quite a number of those Test guys are involved in the T20s, so I think it is oniy natural that we will carry that confidence into the T20 series," he said.

"I think the language, the culture is the same. Dean and I have been in various discussions about where we would like to take the team forward. That started in the series against Pakistan and it showed how its bored fruits in the Test series. That same culture, that same language, we will be looking to carry that through the T20 series. It's only natural that it will continue like it is."

ALSO READ: Proteas will be allowed to kneel if they want to show support for BLM before West Indies tests

Bavuma has indicated that he is back to full fitness after missing the Test series with an injured finger and his skills at the top of the order will be desperately required against a powerful West Indies side that still boast the core of their 2016 T20 World Cup winning team.

Squads for the T20 series

PROTEAS: Temba Bavuma (captain), Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, George Linde, Sisanda Magala, Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams.

WEST INDIES: Kieron Pollard (capt), Nicholas Pooran (wk), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jnr.

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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