Brian Lara’s advice was among the most meaningful to Temba Bavuma as he prepared to make his Test leadership debut against West Indies in Centurion.
“He approached me and stated, “Big respect, huge up!” Respect for your position,’ he remarked, before wishing me well “Bavuma said. I had to pinch myself at that point.
In December 1990, when Lara made his Test debut, Bavuma was just seven months old. He would have been too young to have witnessed South Africa’s first Test after readmission, which was against West Indies in 1992, when half-centuries from Lara and current Cricket West Indies director of cricket Jimmy Adams set a target that South Africa ultimately failed to reach. Bavuma would have heard a great deal about West Indies and Lara as he grew older.
In a series South Africa won 3-0 in the summer of 2003-04, he was a teenager when Lara scored 202 at Wanderers and 115 at Newlands, as well as 196 in Port of Spain and 176 in Bridgetown, against South Africa. Lara was the only person Bavuma could have looked up to as a role model.
In Bavuma’s early years, there were no black Africans on the South African team. When Bavuma became a Test player in 2014 – against none other than West Indies – just four other black African players had represented South Africa in Test cricket, and none were batters. Bavuma was the pioneer. What he represents to millions of young South Africans is the same thing that Lara represented to him: the strength of black greatness.
Kagiso Rabada was born in 2000, five years after Bavuma, when West Indies last won an away Test series against a top-eight team. He draws inspiration from them as well.
“I admire the West Indian cricket culture tremendously. And as a bowler, how can you ignore that legendary bowling attack with the likes of Viv Richards, Brian Lara, and Gordon Greenidge? “Rabada remarked. “They formerly dominated international cricket, and the entire world is aware of this fact. They are an exceptional team with an exceptional culture. I am close with a few of them. I admired the players who came before me, as they would have influenced my cricket upbringing, as well as the present players.”
Bavuma and Rabada’s families were among those who supported West Indies, just as South Africans of subcontinental ancestry grew up supporting India and Pakistan. Additionally, the West Indian greats continue to inspire their own. Kemar Roach said that his primary motive for continuing to play Test cricket, fourteen years after making his debut, is to “become among the greats.”
His five-wicket haul in Centurion helped him surpass his coach Joel Garner on the West Indies’ all-time list of highest Test wicket-takers.
“When I joined the squad, he served as team manager. I spent a great deal of time in his room, conversing and learning trade secrets. Infrequently, he inquires about my well-being. To surpass him is a tremendous honor “Roach replied, checking himself swiftly. “I apologize, Mr. Garner.”
Roach, who has 76 caps and is 34 years old, has no intention of retiring any time soon.
“My motivation comes from wanting to do well, increase my numbers, and join the greats,” he explained. We have a terrific locker room; the camaraderie and fun we have is what motivates me to continue playing for as long as I can.
When asked if he could provide a timeline, Roach cited NBA legend LeBron James, who has promised his followers numerous championships. “See how long I can last. Two, three, four, five, six, and seven years…”
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