South Africa’s young pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada has made such good impression in the last two years, he is seen as the natural heir to Allan Donald and Dale Steyn.
Rabada, only 21 but bowling with great maturity, impressed on his Test debut in India two years ago. The 1.91m South Africa pace enforcer is now happy sharing notes with fellow pacers, including Aussie tearaway Pat Cummins, in the Delhi Daredevils dressing room in his first Indian Premier League season.
The fast bowler is a marquee Proteas player in the #T20 Global Destination League to be launched later this year, which he feels can transform South Africa’s cricket landscape. However, Rabada, in an interview to HT on Saturday, said virtues of Tests must be highlighted for T20 to reap benefits of its popularity, especially with national boards fearing player exodus into lucrative T20 franchises.
How is your first IPL season?
It’s going well. It’s been a bit up and down with the team, but it’s a great experience.
Your experience sharing the dressing room with other fast bowlers and having Zaheer Khan as captain?
It is nice to have a bowler as captain. Zaheer Khan is experienced to be like a sponge to get us as much information as possible. Networking with the other bowlers and sharing ideas (in IPL), it’s really nice.
How is it sharing the dressing room with Pat Cummins?
It is nice to have a bit of time off the field. Half the time we’re talking about bowling and trying to help each other out using our experience, and see how we can really improve. Everyone is (open to sharing ideas), no one is blocking themselves off.
How tough has the IPL schedule been?
It’s very enjoyable, but at times very tiring. But that comes with the territory. However, it is a great experience. You will never forget it.
T20 leagues are mushrooming, South Africa and England will launch next.
T20 is a very exciting format and it’s what brings the crowds in. Test cricket too brings the crowd in, but it is mostly pure cricket followers. T20 brings in a wider range of fans. So, in my eyes, it is the way forward in terms of making good money for the game, and making a good name for the game.
How to then find balance between Tests and T20? Hashim Amla has spoken about the challenges national boards are facing.
He makes a good point, and that is what is happening these days. You want international cricket to be the root of cricket. But it is all about perception. Cricket is seen as boring by some people, tedious. T20 is really exciting on the other hand, (but) you play little for (a) lot of money.
Unfortunately, in this world most people want money because it is needed for financial security. It is up to cricket purists to teach people about the game, so that some more people can fall in love with the true nature, Test cricket. If you are going to abandon it, no one is going to fall in love with it. If you are not going to show it, no one is going to fall in love with it.
Also, the youngsters; back in the day all they knew about was Tests, and they loved it. Now there are more things to take into consideration and T20 cricket is growing quickly.
Do other players talk about T20 cricket as a career option?
A lot of people think about T20, come and smash a few balls. Once again, it is about realising the honour and prestige Test cricket holds. It is again perception, but if you want Test cricket to be the dominant force, get the perception to them.
How will South Africa’s T20 league work?
The T20 league is great for the country, economy, game of cricket, supporters, entertainment, tourism. But I guess most importantly it is great for nurturing young talent and attracting people to the game.
You are a marquee player.
That’s because I’m a contracted player with CSA. It’s nice to be playing at the Wanderers, where I grew up…
Will it make a difference to SA cricket?
If the money is good, but we have to see… we have to see what happens.