Temba Bavuma meets Windies great Brian Lara: ‘I had to pinch myself’

South Africa's Temba Bavuma has spoken about meeting West Indies legend Brian Lara. PHOTO: Phill Magakoe / AFP

Proteas Test captain Temba Bavuma says he had to “pinch himself” when he met West Indies legend Brian Lara for the first time this week.

Bavuma also spoke about his love of the West Indies team following the Proteas’ first Test win against the men from the Caribbean in Centurion on Thursday.

Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, who took six second innings wickets in the Proteas‘ win, also spoke fondly of the West Indies side.

‘High regard’
“I hold the West Indies team in high regard. Before the game I got a chance to speak to Brian Lara when he came up to me to wish me well. I had to pinch myself there,” said Bavuma, who scored two ducks in the Test.

Lara is working in the coaching department in the West Indies side.

Brian Lara
Former West Indies cricketer Brian Lara. Picture: Will Russell/Getty Images

While the current West Indies team might not be as strong as some of the teams of the late 70s and 80s, or when Lara was at his dominant best, Rabada said he, too, had great “admiration” for the team that is now led by Kraigg Brathwaite.

‘Rich history’
“It’s Test cricket, and no matter who you play against, it’s hard. The West Indies are a very capable team. They have a rich history … whether they have a high profile or a low profile, it doesn’t matter.

“I have huge admiration for the West Indies cricket culture.

“As a bowler how can you ignore their famous bowling attack and the likes of Lara, Gordon Greenidge, Viv Richards. They dominated world cricket at a stage. The whole world knows about West Indies cricket.”

Rabada added West Indies cricket had played a role in his upbringing and that many of the bowlers had impacted his own playing style.

“How many T20 World Cups have they won? They’re a phenomenal side with a great cricketing culture and I am friends with many of the players.

“I’ve admired the players who’ve come before as I admire the current players. They’ve played a role in my cricketing upbringing.”

The Proteas won the first Test by 87 runs inside three days at SuperSport Park. The second Test starts next Wednesday at the Wanderers.

Jacques van der Westhuyzen/The Citizen