Temba Bavuma, the South Africa batsman, has been named captain of Highveld Lions two months after he rejoined the franchise for the 2018-19 summer following a short stint with the Cape Cobras. The appointment comes in the wake of Stephen Cook's resignation. Rassie van der Dussen has been named Bavuma's deputy.
It is possible however that van der Dussen will have to take on a significant leadership role if Bavuma is busy with international commitments. He is more than likely to be part of South Africa's Test squad for the home summer, which would occupy his time from the Boxing Day Test until mid-January, when they host Pakistan; and for half of February when they host Sri Lanka. Bavuma may also be in contention for an ODI berth after being named in South Africa A's limited-overs side that tours India.
Bavuma's leadership at the domestic level may also be part of a wider plan to assess if he is suited to the role at the international level. With no clear successor to Faf du Plessis, who has hinted at the 2019 World Cup being his swansong, Bavuma may be among those being considered to lead South Africa in the future.
For now, Bavuma is relishing his new role, especially as it will be his first time in a franchise leadership position. "I have always been eager to achieve this at some point in time and am grateful that the board has seen it fitting to give me this opportunity now," he said. "Being back at the Lions has been phenomenal, and now I will get an opportunity to play a bigger and more meaningful role."
The Lions will also be under a new coach in Enoch Nkwe this season after Geoffrey Toyana was moved into an overseeing role. Nkwe, a former Lions player himself, has previously worked with the Netherlands and the South African women's team. The appointment has brought with it high expectations.
After a barren 2017-18 summer, Lions CEO Greg Fredericks wants to make additions to the trophy cabinet. "We are set on securing silverware in the next season and with the team leadership in place, we can now start taking the next steps towards that," Fredericks said. "Both Temba and Rassie have immense leadership skills that we strongly believe are the right combination when it comes to the execution of the team's preparation and also in guiding the team culture."