Cape Town: South Africa's middle-order batsman Temba Bavuma has acknowledged that being constantly viewed through the colour of his skin has taken a toll on him.
His remarks came after South Africa's win against England in the first ODI of the three-match series. Bavuma, who played a knock of 98 runs, was involved in a 173-run stand with skipper Quinton de Kock.
"It has been hard. It's not so much the dropping part, all players get dropped, everyone goes through slumps of not scoring well. The awkwardness from my side is when you are thrown into talks of transformation," ESPN Cricinfo quoted Bavuma as saying.
"Yes, I am black, that's my skin. But I play cricket because I love it. I'd like to think the reason I am in the team is because of performances I have put forward in my franchise side, and also for the national team, whenever I have been able to. The discomfort was there, having to navigate me around all those types of talks," he added.
During the Test series between England and South Africa, Bavuma became a huge talking about as many people debated as to whether the batsman was part of the Proteas setup due to the transformation target which exists in the team's rulebook.
While the others believed that Bavuma was being discriminated against.
According to Cricket South Africa's rules, the national team is required to field six players of colour in their lineup, including two black Africans.
"The one thing that irks me is when you are seen through the eyes of transformation. When you do well, transformation is not spoken about but when you do badly, transformation is thrown at the top of the agenda," Bavuma said.
"I have a serious problem with that. We've got to be able to take the good with the bad. If transformation is bad when black African players are not doing well, then when we are doing well, let's also recognise transformation for what it's done," he added.
With the win in the first match, South Africa went 1-0 up in the series.
The second ODI between England and South Africa will be played at Durban on Friday, February 7.