The South African cricket team was mostly a unified unit a couple of months back, before the limited-over series against the West Indies. By unified it’s meant that they were together in taking a stand against racism by kneeling down, while others raised a fist in the air.

However, in that, there were three players who did not show unity, they had hands behind their back. The 3 were Quinton de Kock, Anrich Nortje and Heinrich Klaasen.

In perspective, the cricketing board of the South African cricket team, Cricket South Africa last year had given them three options to show their support against racism: kneeling, raising a fist or standing in an attention position.

Hoping that they would not see a repeat performance, CSA yet again saw defiance from some players who took the field in a warm-up game against Australia in the ICC men’s T20 World Cup.

This prompted them to change their stance on the three options and adopt a “consistent and united stance against racism”.

Cut to October 26, 2021. The South African playing XI took a knee. This included Nortje and Klaasen. However, De Kock remained defiant and decided to give the match a miss due to his stand on taking a knee.

This announcement rocked the South Africa cricket team and board. But Temba Bavuma was having none of it. He handled the whole situation gracefully and kept the whole thing from falling apart.

During a post-match presentation, he agreed that this was one of his “toughest days” as a skipper.

He further described the incident as “surprised and taken aback by the news.” He meant that he was told of De Kock’s decision on the way to the stadium. In the changeroom, he said, “still a game of cricket there for our country.”

The hours and the press conference that followed saw Bavuma handle the whole thing gracefully and keep the unit together.

“Probably one of the toughest days I’ve had to deal with as a captain, as a leader of the team I’m just glad that we were able to get into the right frame of mind as a team and play the way we played,” Bavuma said post-game.

“We found a way to get into the right mental space and take it home for our country.” They stood by it as they beat the West Indies by 8 wickets to register their win of the ongoing ICC men’s T20 World Cup.

Addressing the playing group, he said: “I think we have to keep focusing as much as we can on the team, most particularly about matters on the field. I think we’ll lose a lot of energy as players if we start giving 100% to everything that is, I guess, being discussed outside of the team.”

He did not didge any questions but answered them with poise. “I don’t think it’s as simple as just taking a knee,” he said.

“We have to appreciate the fact that we live in a country that has its own past that is diverse. As much as we’re a team, we wear the same shirt, we play for the badge, but outside that, we still live our own lives.

“For me, I’ve learnt to appreciate it a lot more, try to widen your own perspective as an individual and not expect people to see the things the way I see things.

“If there is a disagreement in terms of beliefs, that’s why we have those hard conversations.”