Cape Town - Kagiso Rabada may be only some
three months out of his teens but he looks increasingly likely to add maiden
Test caps this season to his early, accomplished strides for South Africa in
the two limited-overs formats.
The 20-year-old has just completed
successive Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand, and ended the
mini-series as the most eye-catching of the frontline Proteas bowlers over the
course of the Kingsmead and SuperSport Park clashes.
Certainly it was through no fault on his
part that the Black Caps struck back on Sunday at Centurion to earn a 1-1
outcome - he had played a major part in curtailing the tourists to a total
fractionally short of statistical par batting first at the venue, and SA lost
this one more because of over-eagerness on the part of key batsmen in reply
with acting captain AB de Villiers and Rilee Rossouw notable culprits after
looking seriously threatening.
Rabada showed extraordinary cool-headedness,
in a collectively raw attack, on both Friday and Sunday to go with the
impressive collection of skills that are becoming more and more evident from
the Johannesburg-born customer.
Throw in the fact that memories remain
vivid of his world record haul of 6-16 for an ODI debut against Bangladesh in
Dhaka not much more than a month ago, and it is clear the Proteas are onto a
really good thing with this baby-faced strike bowler.
Rabada’s burgeoning development bears out
what coach Russell Domingo had confidently told Sport24 at the Cricket South
Africa awards in the off-season, even as he cautioned about astute management
of him being necessary: “He’s a diamond ... there is something special about
him; very mature, a solid guy. He gets good shape, possesses pace and is a fine
All of those observations were proved on
the button as Rabada added a haul of 3/30 from a full four-over quota on Sunday
to go with the 2/29 registered two days before.
Each time De Villiers felt confident enough
to saddle him with important “death” duty - and the novice had little trouble
in answering the calls.
Rabada bowled the very final over of the NZ
innings in Durban, and apart from being thumped for one six kept a suitably
tight lid on things as he claimed 2/9 to curtail the late blitzkrieg.
He went even better at Centurion, albeit
entrusted with the penultimate over this time, grabbing two for two and finding
himself sitting on a hat-trick at one point for the second time in fewer than
On Sunday the delivery he whizzed down to
attempt to achieve the rare landmark clocked 150km/h on the speed-gun, was
straight as a ruler and only just kept out.
Tall and languid, his faster delivery is
genuinely swift but already he is more than prepared to vary his pace
enormously and frequently change his angles or methods of attack.
“There is just a spark about this youngster
... fabulous,” said television commentator and former Zimbabwe paceman
Another critic, former SA seamer and coach
Eric Simons, said the young athlete’s action - “he bowls behind himself a bit” -
possibly made him more awkward for batsmen to work out than fast bowlers with
more orthodox ones.
Expect Rabada to continue his impressive
learning curve when the ODI portion of the tour begins, also at Centurion, on
He will team up with a certain Dale Steyn, back in the mix for
this format, so the Highveld public ought to have a marvellous opportunity to
see the budding pupil work in tandem with the established master of the pace
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