‘People are shallow in their view of Temba Bavuma …’ Proteas’ Rassie van Der Dussen comes out to bat for captain

South Africa's Temba Bavuma (front) celebrates with teammate South Africa's Rassie van der Dussen (back) after scoring a century (100 runs) during the second one day international (ODI) cricket match between South Africa and England at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein

There is one individual who took most of the criticism of the Proteas’ Cricket World Cup semi-final exit, and that is captain Temba Bavuma. Meanwhile, Rassie van der Dussen has backed his skipper to the hilt. Picture: Marco Longari / AFP)

Published Nov 29, 2023


The pressure that comes with representing South Africa on the biggest stage is very much different from other countries purely because of how the Proteas have performed at ICC events.

The recently concluded Cricket World Cup campaign was no different in that the South African public made their thoughts and views known through the various social media platforms.

There is one individual who took most of the criticism and that is captain Temba Bavuma. It was not just the normal heat that any captain has to brace himself for after crashing out of a World Cup, instead in this instance it seemed personal.

However, it is nothing new for Bavuma as, throughout his career, his spot in the team, has always been something that was questioned.

‘It never affected us’

Within the team, it is a different story altogether as Rassie van der Dussen told Independent Media in an exclusive interview.

“As a team it never affected us at all. There were no doubts in our minds that Temba needs to be in the team and is the captain, just on that basis alone the value that he adds is humungous,” said Van der Dussen.

“If you look at the stats of this year, Temba still averages 50. If you’re judging a player, you judge them over a period of time and not just a certain few innings in the World Cup for an example.

“I think people are a bit shallow in their view. Obviously, you want all the guys doing well, but realistically that’s not going to happen too often, that’s why you have to function as a unit.”

Having played with Bavuma for many years at the Lions and also in the Proteas teams, Van der Dussen knows what the captain brings to a cricket team.

He emphasised the fact that all the criticism Bavuma faced upon his return from India and also during the World Cup campaign itself was “ungrounded”.

Van der Dussen: “Look at Temba’s ODI numbers, it will tell you a different story. If you can take a few innings in isolation for criticism, then you can also take this year in isolation and also his ODI career in isolation and look at those numbers.

“It’s all about what your personal narrative is and if you’re looking for problems with anyone, you can find something negative if you look for that. From a team point of view, it really did not affect us but it might have influenced him because he wants to contribute, he wants to lead from the front.”