JOHANNESBURG: He’s ranked ninth in the world. He’s regarded as one of the best in any format. But maybe because he is about to play only his 50th ODI that Kagiso Rabada is yet to feel like a leader, reported Cricinfo.
So sharp has Rabada’s rise in world cricket been, that it is easy to feel as if he’s been around for years. But although only 23 – routinely winning matches for South Africa, including the first ODI against Sri Lanka where he took four wickets – Rabada still lacks experience on any normal scale.
In an attack featuring 22-year-olds Andile Phehlukwayo and Lungi Ngidi, as well as 28-year-old left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi, a leader is what Rabada is, even if he doesn’t feel that way.
“I have not come to grips with the fact that I am the leader,” Rabada said ahead of the second ODI in Dambulla. “I don’t see it that way. I have a responsibility towards the team as the opening bowler. Of all the bowlers, I have got the most experience along with Shamsi. If you look at it that way, we are sort of leading. I don’t see myself as a much of a leader – all I know is that I have got some responsibility. If someone wants help, then I am all out to give that.”
Rabada had been South Africa’s most penetrative bowler in the Test series, but even he had been neutralised to an extent on those dusty tracks. If Sunday’s pitch is any indication, however, the limited-overs matches on this tour are likely to be played on surfaces that offer more to the quicks.
On Sunday, Rabada used the short-of-a-length delivery effectively, as he blasted out three top-order batsmen in his first spell. “The Test match pitches were completely different – they were just sand pits,” Rabada said. “It’s different now because the pitches have good bounce. It’s more like a usual one-day wicket.”
So long as he stays fit, Rabada is a near certainty in South Africa’s squad for the World Cup next year, but he personally isn’t looking that far ahead. South Africa have a busy ODI schedule before they go to England for the tournament, and coaches have stressed that there is plenty of time remaining to gear themselves up for the big event.
“At the moment it’s too early to think about the World Cup. We are working and thinking about this series. That is the priority. You will be working towards the World Cup, and you want to get to a certain level at the World Cup. But right now thinking about how we need to play here.”