Heading into the World Cup 2023, even though Temba Bavuma was South Africa’s leading ODI run-scorer from January 1, 2023, to October 1, 2023, the South African captain has been in contrastingly poor form in the tournament.
The voices of the fans demanding his axing from the playing XI grew to a clamor when he hit the nadir with the bat in the World Cup 2023 with a duck in the all-important semi-final on Thursday against Australia at the Eden Gardens.
Temba Bavuma’s decision of fielding first in overcast conditions, in which Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood made hay, has also come under heavy scrutiny.
Bavuma himself said at the toss that he was not 100 percent fit from the hamstring injury that he sustained in South Africa’s last league match against Afghanistan. He had also battled illness earlier in the tournament and missed a couple of games.
Reeza Hendricks scored 85 on a flat track in Mumbai against England in the absence of Bavuma. But while Reeza Hendricks averages only 30 in ODI cricket, Bavuma averages 47 and has been one of the best openers in ODIs in the past year.
The moment Bavuma was dismissed for a duck by Starc in the first over, edging to wicket-keeper Josh Inglis, started the furor and trend of ‘Quota player’ among the fans on Twitter.
The jibes at Temba Bavuma from some of the fans about ‘Quota selection’, while ignoring his brilliant leadership on and off the field over the past couple of years and his excellent ODI form this year, were distasteful and simply unfair.
Social media was abuzz with memes on Temba Bavuma after his duck:
South Africa (Playing XI): Quinton de Kock(w), Temba Bavuma(c), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Gerald Coetzee, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi
Australia (Playing XI): Travis Head, David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steven Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Josh Inglis(w), Pat Cummins(c), Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood