Ken Borland

By Ken Borland

Journalist


Bavuma on chokers tag, captaincy after Proteas’ World Cup exit

'But we are still going to carry that monkey on our backs, that tag. We knew we had to win the game, but I didn’t feel any different type of pressure personally.'


Proteas captain Temba Bavuma did not explicitly say it was another case of South Africa choking at a cricket World Cup after their shock loss to the Netherlands saw them eliminated from the T20 showpiece on Sunday, but he did admit that notorious tag would now be hung around their necks, like so many of their predecessors.

Needing to just beat qualifiers the Netherlands to make the semi-finals, the Proteas instead came out flat and uninspired, allowing the Dutch to post a challenging 158/4, and then batting limply to only manage 145/8 in reply.

Read more: Netherlands shock Proteas, knock SA out of T20 World Cup

“That tag will always be there until we get to a final and come out on the right side of it,” Bavuma said in the aftermath. “We have nothing else to blame, everything was in our own hands.

“We had the confidence, the belief and the form behind us, but when it mattered we just couldn’t do the business. There needs to be an element of learning to make sure young guys like Tristan Stubbs and Marco Jansen don’t make the same mistakes in future.

Also read: ‘Chokers’ trends as Proteas knocked out of World Cup

“But we are still going to carry that monkey on our backs, that tag. We knew we had to win the game, but I didn’t feel any different type of pressure personally.

“It’s very hard to say it was different because we knew we had to beat India and we won that game. We had the opportunity to make the semi-finals and we just did not take it,” Bavuma said.

Captaincy decision

Of his own future in the shortest format, Bavuma said he will park any decision on the captaincy until a new fulltime coach is appointed. The skipper admitted that all the speculation over his own poor batting form had also been unsettling.

“It’s been a tricky time and to consider the captaincy now, a lot of my thinking would be emotional. I probably will think about it and speak to the relevant people.

“We have to see who comes in as coach, generally the new person coming in might want a different leader to execute their vision. But I think I carried myself with dignity through the good and bad times.

“Mentally all the talk does affect you. You try to manage your mental space as much as you can, unfortunately social media and whatever is said about you, always seems to get to you no matter how you try to control it.

“I’ve tried to keep a level head through the good and bad times and stay as close to myself as possible. Not just for myself but for the group, who will now take a lot of flak, and rightfully so,” Bavuma said.

Read more: Bavuma calls Proteas defeat to Pakistan at T20 World Cup a ‘wake up call’