Proteas batsman Temba Bavuma has fired a salvo at the media and fans who blame transformation whenever he struggles to score runs.
Bavuma fell to Chris Jordan two runs shy of his second ODI century after only three matches in this format in SA’s seven-wicket win over England at Newlands on Tuesday.
He put together a match-winning second-wicket partnership of 173 with captain Quinton de Kock in the comprehensive win over the world champions and said afterwards the criticism he has received has been harsh.
“It has been hard‚” he said. “It’s not so much the dropping part because all players get dropped‚ and we all go through slumps if we are not scoring well. The awkwardness from my side has been throwing in talk of transformation and all of that.
“What really irks me is when you do well, transformation is not spoken about. But when you do badly, then transformation is at the top of the agenda. I have a serious problem with that. I think we have got to be able to take the good with the bad.
“If transformation is bad when a black African is not doing well‚ then when he is doing well let’s also recognise transformation for what it has done.
“I am black and that’s my skin colour‚ I play cricket because I love it. I would like to think that the reason I am in the team is because of performances that I have put forward for my franchise side and also for the national team whenever I have been able to.”
Bavuma‚ who was injured for the Boxing Day Test at Centurion‚ recovered for the New Year’s Test in Cape Town, but was left out of the side and went back to the Lions where he scored a career best first-class 180 against the Dolphins.
The discomfort was having to kind of navigate around the criticism, he said.
“But players get dropped and I am not the last one to get dropped. That is something that as players we have to accept.”
Asked how it felt to be back on the field on Tuesday‚ Bavuma said he enjoyed it.
“It was good to be on the field and running around with the guys‚ in a different format and in a different type of pressure. I felt like I was a kid with no burden out there‚ just trying to enjoy this game of cricket.”