It may very well have felt like the longest year of his life. Having made his debut in the Boxing Day Test back in 2014 it took Temba Bavuma a little over 12 months to reach a milestone only a select few lovers of cricket get to experience.
His maiden Test hundred, against England at Newlands earlier this year, finally came. It was a moment that will go down as one of the proudest in the history of the game in South Africa. And it earned the 26-year-old the “So Good” award as one of the highlights of the year at the Cricket South Africa awards earlier this week.
“I had an opportunity to do so,” Bavuma said when asked if he’d thought back to his three figure score against the touring party
“I didn’t play cricket for three months so had a lot of time just thinking back on everything and what happened at Newlands. The whole significance not just for me but for everyone in the country,” he added of his achievement at becoming the first Black African to score a Test hundred for South Africa.
During his off-season Bavuma had a chance to go back to his hometown of Langa and he admitted that he noticed that the interest in cricket seemed to have grown.
“I had an opportunity, not for as long as I would like but there was a warm welcome especially from the kids. I noticed there are a lot more kids playing in the streets which was a good sign, quite a heartwarming thing.”
The recognition of his effort could very well have come at the perfect time as he prepares to take his place in the South Africa A squad for a series of four-day matches next month. It’s a prospect the right-handed batsman is relishing.
“Looking forward to it. I haven’t played any competitive cricket for the last three months so theres an opportunity to be on the field with teammates getting into that competitiveness. Im looking forward to being on the field again, just doing what I love,” said Bavuma.
“I think just to keep improving and reaching new heights as a player,” he added of his goals for the coming months which starts with the A tour before a two-Test series against New Zealand at home towards the end of August.
But the nuggety batsman isn’t going to sit back and assume that he’s entrenched himself into the Test setup. In fact, he’s going to try his best to break into the squads for the other formats although he is fully aware of what is needed to make it happen.
“From a Test point of view I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’m an established player. There are quality players around me and I still regard every chance that I get as an opportunity.
“I’d definitely like to expand to other formats but I understand that I need to put pressure on, there are other guys ahead of me. I’m looking forward to the future and everything that comes with it.”