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From Proteas darling to Daredevil – Rabada relishing IPL

Proteas
CAPE TOWN – It is easy to forget that Kagiso Rabada is still only 21 years old.

But that is exactly how young South Africa’s pace sensation still is, even though he has a bank balance in excess of R9.8 million after being signed up by the Delhi Daredevils for this season’s Indian Premier League.

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Kagiso Rabada is dreaming of playing for the Proteas at Lord’s, but first up is the IPL.

Zaahier Adams spoke exclusively with “KG” ahead of his IPL debut against the Royal Challengers in Bangalore on Saturday to chat about a “really cool car” he might buy, pairing up with Aussie speedster Pat Cummins and what it will be like to make his debut at Lord’s later this year...

What has your maiden IPL experience with the Daredevils been like?

It’s been really good. Pretty exciting, although it’s a bit weird meeting a whole lot of new people all at once. It’s mostly been training at the moment. We’ve had lots of “middle” sessions, so focusing mainly on practising skills. I haven’t endured much of the hectic travelling schedule that everyone talks about, but had a small taste on the way to Bangalore now.

Are you disappointed that your Proteas teammates JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock had to withdraw from the Daredevils’ squad for this IPL?

It would have been nice to have JP and Quinny around, having some familiar faces is always good, but Morry (Chris Morris) is here in Delhi. I’m sure I’ll spend a bit of time with him. But I’ve already made a few new friends, so it’s cool.

How is the body holding up after a long international season?

All good. There are no complaints. I think I manage myself quite well. I don’t do much gym work and focus more on rehab and being physically ready for every game. I like my sleep too. Sleep is very important for a growing boy! (Laughs)

Did you expect to be purchased for such a lofty price tag at the IPL auction?

No, not at all! I didn’t even follow the auction on Twitter or anything. Someone came and told me that I was sold for 5 crore (approximately R9.8m). I didn’t even know how much 5 crore was! It was though a nice surprise when I did the conversion.

What’s your first purchase going to be once that cheque is deposited into your bank account?

We’ll see. The good thing is to invest it, buy property. You can’t go wrong with property. Maybe I’ll have a nice chat with my sponsors Nissan about that GTR! It’s a really cool car!

Are you excited about the prospect of sharing the new ball for Delhi with Australian speedster Pat Cummins?

He’s a really cool guy. I’ve chatted quite a bit with him since I’ve got here. It’s been interesting to share some ideas and see how he goes about his business. 

We don’t know the team line-up yet, so I don’t know if I’m playing because each team can only play four foreigners in the IPL. It would be great though to bowl from one end and Cummins keeping the pressure on from the other end.

You’re the only member of the Proteas’ squad with an ICC World Cup winners’ medal, having won the Under-19 version in Dubai a few years ago. How badly do you want to add an ICC Champions Trophy medal to your collection in England later this year?

The Champions Trophy is a tournament that means the world to me and the team. We all want to win it. It’s a major event, and all our preparation and planning is geared towards bringing the trophy home. We want to do it for the people of South Africa.

Are you hoping to pick up some skills from Delhi captain, renowned Indian swing bowler Zaheer Khan ahead of the Champions Trophy?

I’m a guy that enjoys learning. I always want to improve my game, and Zaheer Khan’s been doing it for years. He’s an experienced bowler, so I will look where I can learn from him all the time.

Last season you skipped the IPL to play in England for Kent to gain experience playing in English conditions. Will this hold you in good stead for the ICC Champions Trophy and the big Test series against England that follows?

I certainly hope so. Playing with the Duke ball was a really different experience. It certainly swings a lot more. The seam is much harder. There is a lot more movement.

Once the IPL and the ICC Champions Trophy have been concluded, there is still a massive Test series against England to come. The first Test will be played at Lord’s. Have you been dreaming about it yet?

Wow! Lord’s, what a place! When I was in England last season, I went to watch a game there. It was just unbelievable. It’s almost like you can feel the history of the place when you walk around it. The atmosphere is incredible.

I can only imagine what it’s like for a Test match and where your own supporters are cheering you on too. Vernon (Philander) often talks about the Honours board, and what it means to put your name up there alongside the legends of the game. It’s not about that for me, though. I just want to make the team to get a chance to play there!

List of South Africans in IPL 2017

Royal Challengers Bangalore: AB de Villiers, Tabraiz Shamsi

Rising Pune Supergiants: Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir

Kings XI Punjab: David Miller, Hashim Amla

Delhi Daredevils: Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada

Weekend Argus

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