Temba Bavuma is the right man to lead the Proteas because he took the Lions from being kittens to the roaring, dominant beasts they are now, according to his vice-captain at the franchise, Nicky van den Bergh.
History will be made at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday when Bavuma becomes the first black African to captain the South African cricket team, and for wicketkeeper/batsman Van den Bergh he was the obvious choice as skipper.
“There was obviously a lot of speculation over who the best captain would be, but the Proteas white-ball teams need to win trophies and Temba has managed to do that, really stepping up for the Lions in two or three finals,” Van den Bergh told The Citizen on Thursday.
“He has been the most successful franchise captain over the last three years, he has a proven record that no-one can dispute. It’s about time that the Proteas have taken that punt and I think he will do well.
“Sure, he inherited a strong squad at the Lions but we hadn’t won anything. Under him we won five out of eight possible trophies which you can’t argue with.
“The best captains get a team effort going, there’s no secret, no aces up his sleeve, he just gets the best out of the big players and ensures they step up in the big games. Temba is very confident, he has that presence, that aura, that means he can get the best out of his players.”
Van den Bergh added Bavuma’s “people skills” helped him get the best out of players.
“Temba is a pretty intense character and he leads like that as well,” Van den Bergh said. “But I feel he got the best out of me and the other players, and now he’s obviously got an even greater calibre of players and more backing.
“He expects the best out of you as a player and he’s never satisfied with just doing well, he expects you to do better and better. But he lets the guys play, you can see that by how attacking we are.
“That’s the kind of thing that makes the top players stand up and he does it as well, Temba’s not one to back down under pressure. He created a winning culture very quickly at the Lions and the guys now expect to win, we don’t buckle. So for me it was a move the Proteas had to make because of the success he has had at franchise level.”