Proteas captain Temba Bavuma takes the knee ahead of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match against West Indies at Dubai International Stadium in THE United Arab Emirates, October 26 2021 Picture: FRANCOIS NEJ/GETTY IMAGES
Proteas captain Temba Bavuma takes the knee ahead of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match against West Indies at Dubai International Stadium in THE United Arab Emirates, October 26 2021 Picture: FRANCOIS NEJ/GETTY IMAGES

Proteas captain Temba Bavuma wants the players to focus on the team and cricket matters as they move on from the Quinton de Kock controversy that overshadowed their win over the West Indies on Tuesday.

The South Africans put in a hard shift on Tuesday as they freshened up their ICC T20 World Cup campaign after the opening match loss to Australia on Saturday. There was little time to savour and review the five-wicket win over the Windies as the focus was firmly on De Kock’s refusal to take the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Bavuma wants the team to focus on the task at hand as they have tough assignments against Sri Lanka on Saturday, and clashes against Bangladesh and England next week. These matches will determine if they qualify for the semifinals.

“We have to focus as much as we can on the team, and more particularly on matters on the field,” said Bavuma. “We will lose a lot of energy as players if we start giving 100% to everything that is being discussed outside the team. At the end of the day, you guys are going to judge us by how well we bowl or how well we hit the ball.

“I don’t think you are going to be looking at the fact that we stood for whatever cause we stood for. Me being the leader of the side at the moment it is to make sure our eyes are on the ball.”

Bavuma, who was widely praised for showing leadership by facing the media in the middle of the storm, said they must make sure they prepare well for Sri Lanka.

“We have our next clash in about three days' time and we will debrief, look at all the things we got right and areas where we need to improve on to make sure we prepare for the next match as wholeheartedly as we can.

“We can’t control things that are happening in the media, but we can control the  things  happening here within the team. It is going to get tougher in the tournament and it is important that as a team and as players we stay more together.

“It is good for us to get the ball rolling with that first win under the belt and hopefully we can create some momentum with that.”

He said fans and the media have a right to find out what is happening in the team.

“With freedom of choice, as much as you have a choice to decide what you want to do, we can’t escape the consequences of the decisions we make. If there are people out there who feel they need a bit of clarity, then fans and the media should do so.

“There is nothing that stops people outside the team from doing so. It is probably best that you ask those questions to the guys directly. It does become a bit blurry when you are asking guys about other guys. If you really want to get clarity you should ask those individuals themselves.”


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