Temba Bavuma admits Ben Stokes' sledging was the motivation behind his maiden Test century
South African cricketer Temba Bavuma, who smashed a magnificent century against the visiting English side in Capetown, was apparently sledged by England batsman Ben Stokes during the start of his innings. The youngster scored his maiden Test ton as South Africa declared at 627/7, 2 runs shy of England’s first innings total.
After forcing Bavuma into a false shot early in his innings, England's double-centurion Stokes mouthed at Bavuma: 'You are absolutely s*** .' The 25-year old then responded brilliantly by becoming the first black South African to score a hundred for his team.
The youngster in his own words admitted that Stokes’ words did fire him up to stay focused at the crease. “Some of the things he said I couldn't really hear but the more he kept speaking, the more he fired me up to stay focused,” he said.
Playing at home and notching up his century did make for a special occasion, considering the fact that there were questions raised about his selection in the team. But his emphatic reply certainly shut many mouths. Bavuma confessed that it was indeed a special and emotional moment for him.
“I understand what it means but I'm struggling to find the words. I'm quite relieved, full of emotion and very satisfied from a personal and team point of view. I've been wanting to cross off that first Test hundred and to do it at my favourite ground was extra special,” he remarked.
He recalled the time when his love for the game in school rekindled his passion of playing for his country. “At first, cricket was a passion, I just played for the love of it. When I made the SA Schools side, that's when I realised cricket could be more than a passion, something I can use to inspire other people.”
“When I made my debut for South Africa I came to be a bit more aware and realise the significance behind it all. It was not about me making my debut, it was about being a role model, an inspiration for other kids, black African kids. Achieving this kind of milestone will strengthen that example,” he proudly stated.
Stokes was the first to congratulate Bavuma: Paul Farbrace
England’s assistant coach Paul Farbrace was quick in responding that the incident was blown out of proportion and said that Stokes, in fact, was the first to congratulate Bavuma after the latter brought up his century. “Ben was the first to run after Bavuma when he walked off to shake his hand and tell him how well he had played. I don't think it's anything either side will get too worried about.”