Ever-improving Rabada won't stop learning

2019-01-01 17:19
Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada (AP)

Cape Town - As the Proteas begin a massive year in which they will try and win a maiden World Cup, they do so in the knowledge that Kagiso Rabada will be key to any such success. 

The 23-year-old has become increasingly valuable to the South African cause with each passing season, and his name is now one of the first on the team sheet whenever the Proteas take to the field, regardless of the format.  

While the World Cup is obviously the priority over the next six months, the more immediate job at hand from a Proteas perspective is securing a Test series win over Pakistan. 

South Africa won the first Test inside three days at Centurion, and they now turn their attention to Newlands in Cape Town where the second Test begins on Thursday. 

Rabada took six wickets in that first Test match, ensuring that he ended 2018 as the world's leading wicket-taker in Test cricket with 52 scalps at just 20.07

Rabada also finished the year as the No 1 ranked bowler in Test cricket. 

On the surface, it looks like the youngster has already mastered his craft. 

With 157 wickets in just 33 Tests and with years of bowling ahead of him, Rabada looks a good bet to (one day) overtake Dale Steyn as the country's leading wicket-taker in the format. 

With that level of expectation, Rabada could easily get caught with his head in the clouds.

Instead, he refuses to stop soaking in what the game has to offer. He never stops learning.

"There are always things that you can improve on and you never really arrive, ever," Rabada told journalists in Cape Town on Tuesday.

"I think that's just the way I am. You always try and find place to improve, but at the same time I've learnt to acknowledge my strengths and I've also learnt that things don't come quickly. You have to look at the minor battles."

Looking ahead to 2019, Rabada was keeping his plans as simple as possible.

"Just to take it step by step again," he said.

"There are obviously a few goals I would like to achieve and the team as well ... just to improve on what I feel I could have done better last year."

While Rabada will definitely play at Newlands, there is some uncertainty hovering over the fast bowling department with the news that Vernon Philander is fit once more. 

In Philander's absence at Centurion, Duanne Olivier left with match figures of 11/96 in a display that was one of the finest seen by a South African fast bowler in recent times. 

If the Protea opt to go with the same balance of three seamers and a specialist spinner, however, Olivier will likely be dropped while Philander operates alongside Rabada and Steyn. 

"I don't like to get involved in team selection, it's not my place," Rabada said.

"But it is a bit of a headache now with people talking about Vern maybe coming back and Duanne sitting out. It's a good headache to have."

"We'll have to see what the captain, selectors and coach come up with."


Read more on:    proteas  |  kagiso rabada  |  cape town  |  cricket


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