Rabada Reflects On Outstanding Year

PICTURE : CSA

JOHANNESBURG: Kagiso Rabada say he is honoured to have received so many awards at the annual Cricket South Africa (CSA) awards function in Sandton on Saturday, but insists that all his Standard Bank Proteas teammates contributed towards his success.

In what proved to be a magical evening for the 23-year-old, he won no fewer than six awards. These included the South African Cricketer of the Year, SA Players’ Player of the Year, Standard Bank Test Cricketer of the Year, Standard Bank ODI Cricketer of the Year and SA Fans Player of the Year.

He also won the award for the RAM Delivery of the Year when he dismissed David Warner in the third Sunfoil Test match against Australia at PPC Newlands in March this year.

His six-star performance means he now done it both in 2016 and 2018. No other cricketer has ever won more than five awards.

“I am grateful and honoured to have received these awards,” the young star said. “It means I’m doing something right. I’m glad to have done it for the team and for the country.”

It has been a remarkable year for Rabada who rose to the No. 1 bowling ranking in the world in Test match cricket, cracking the 900-point barrier and is currently the leading wicket-taker in the 2018 calendar year with 38 dismissals at an average of 19.65. He is also ranked No. 7 in ODI cricket and was named in the ICC Test XI for the 2017 calendar year.

“It felt good to do what I did, but at the same time, I really do think that the whole team contributed,” Rabada explained. “If you look at the Test matches we played, whenever we were in trouble, there was always someone different who bailed us out.

“There were guys like Aiden (Markram) and AB (de Villiers) and Dean (Elgar), who were consistent, but if you look at the roles that other guys played like a Keshav (Maharaj), like a Temba (Bavuma), like a Quinny (Quinton de Kock) at Newlands.

“Those guys are not getting too much recognition, but when you are in the changing room you see it all. I just feel like everyone contributed.”

Rabada’s on-field behaviour was a big talking point this past season after several run-ins with opposing batsmen. But he says he has learnt from what happened.

He continued: “There’s certain things that happened to me, some good and some bad, which I have taken note off and made a conscious effort to improve on them, whether it be on the cricket field or just in my life.

“That’s where I am at the moment, just trying to build on from last season and trying to be ruthless by bringing this on in the new season.”

The fast bowler is currently sidelined with a lower back stress reaction. He was ruled out for three months in early April, but says his rehabilitation is going well.

South Africa’s next assignment is a tour to Sri Lanka next month.

“I’ve been taking it one week at a time,” Rabada adds. “When I got injured there was a plan for three months that I should be ready for Sri Lanka, so let’s see if the plan is going to go accordingly.

“At the moment it’s all good. So, we’re waiting until July.”