Centurion — Temba Bavuma will start his Test captaincy career against the team that he grew up supporting when South Africa start the first Test against the West Indies at SuperSport Park on Tuesday.
South Africa’s first Black African captain grew up in the township of Langa, near Cape Town.
“The West Indies was the team I supported growing up," he said.
"They were the team I saw on the television at home and my uncle supported them. I made my Test debut against them (in 2014/15) and scored 10 runs so hopefully this goes better.”
Bavuma’s appointment and several changes in personnel bore the stamp of new coach Shukri Conrad.
“It’s the start of a new journey,” said the new captain.
He acknowledged that losing tours of England and Australia in the past year had been difficult but that the players needed to move on.
“England and Australia are tough places to tour and they separate the good guys from the really good guys.”
He said that any changes in the style of play would primarily be in terms of players challenging themselves, in particular for batsmen to make centuries and convert those into scores of 150 or more.
He praised South Africa’s women cricketers, who reached the final of the Women’s T20 World Cup before losing to Australia in front of a packed crowd at Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday.
“It was massive, not just for us but for the nation. All the guys were watching. As a team we’re always looking for ways to draw inspiration and I hope there will be a lot more support for women’s cricket.”
Bavuma said he believed the West Indies played “old-fashioned cricket”, with bowlers capable of taking advantage of the pace of South African pitches and “hitting the areas outside off stump” as well as batsmen like captain Kraigg Brathwaite “who are able to stand up to the challenge”.
The West Indies arrived in South Africa after defeating Zimbabwe in a two-Test series.
“South Africa are a tough team to beat,” said Brathwaite. “We did well against Zimbabwe but we know South Africa are a different calibre of team.”
The West Indies were heavily beaten in Australia shortly before South Africa suffered a similar fate towards the end of last year and Brathwaite said the fact that the Proteas had made several changes did not mean they were vulnerable.
“They still have a lot of experienced players,” he said. “We will not be looking at the big picture. We will be taking it by the hour, by the session.”
Brathwaite said he expected the West Indian fast bowlers to play an important role on pitches which should help them.
“We have a good bowling attack but discipline is very important,” he said.