South Africa’s new Test captain Bavuma reveals message of encouragement from former Windies great Brian Lara – ‘I had to pinch myself’

Proteas Test captain Temba Bavuma says he had to “pinch himself” when he met West Indies legend Brian Lara for the first time this week.

Bavuma also spoke about his love of the West Indies team following the Proteas’ first Test win against the men from the Caribbean in Centurion on Thursday.  Accordingly, the first test match ended yesterday and the West Indies team lost by 87 runs.

However, of all the messages Temba Bauma received as he prepared to make his captaincy debut in the first Test at Centurion, Brian Lara’s was the most important.

“I hold the West Indies team in high regard. Before the game I got a chance to speak to Brian Lara when he came up to me ” said Bavuma, who scored two ducks in the Test.

Lara is working in the coaching department in the West Indies side.

“He came to me and said, ‘Big respect, big up. All respect to you for the position you have,’ and he wished me well. I had to pinch myself there.” said Bavuma

Bawuma was seven months old when Lara played his Test debut in December 1990. He was too young to watch South Africa’s first Test against the West Indies in 1992, when half-centuries from Lara and current West Indies Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams set South Africa an elusive target.

He was a teenager in the summer of 2003-04 when Lara scored 202 at Wanderers and 115 at Newlands in a 3-0 win over South Africa. Lara was a fearless prodigy, and Bauma’s role model in a way no one else could be.

In Bauma’s early days, the South African team had no black African players. When Makhaya Ntini debuted in 1998, he was eight years old, and when Bavuma became a Test player in 2014 – against none other than the West Indies – only four other black Africans had represented South Africa in Test cricket.

However, none of them were batsmen and Bauma was the first. He represents to millions of young South Africans what Lara represented to him: the power of black excellence.

Also, Kagiso Rabada was born five years after Bavuma – in 1995 – when the West Indies last won a Test series away from home against a top 8 team. He also draws inspiration from them.

Commenting further, Rabada said that there is a lot of admiration for West Indies’ culture and the famous bowling attack can never be ignored.

“It’s Test cricket, and no matter who you play against, it’s hard. The West Indies are a very capable team. They have a rich history … whether they have a high profile or a low profile, it doesn’t matter.

“I have huge admiration for the West Indies cricket culture.

“As a bowler how can you ignore their famous bowling attack and the likes of Lara, Gordon Greenidge, Viv Richards. They dominated world cricket at a stage. The whole world knows about West Indies cricket.”

“How many T20 World Cups have they won? They’re a phenomenal side with a great cricketing culture and I am friends with many of the players.

“I’ve admired the players who’ve come before as I admire the current players. They’ve played a role in my cricketing upbringing.”

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