It is official. Australia have set their sights on unsettling South Africa’s young tearaway Kagiso Rabada ahead of the much-anticipated three Test series set to get underway early next month.
Shane Warne started the banter a couple of months ago, when he Tweeted: “Rabada from South Africa is a quality bowler, he will enjoy bowling in Australia this summer & make the Aussie boys jump around!”
While that may sound like high praise for the 21-year-old fast bowler, especially with Warne being an Australian legend, all it did was put the spotlight firmly on the youngster. Peter Siddle continued to focus on Rabada earlier this week when he said the Aussies would “target” South Africa’s Cricketer of the Year in a bid to increase the workload on the more experienced bowlers like Dale Steyn.
However, Cricket Australia’s official website – cricket.com.au – have now released a video interviewing a myriad of current Australian Test and ODI cricketers on their views on Rabada.
“He’s fast, he’s strong” says Aussie vice-captain David Warner, while all-rounder Mitchell Marsh says “he’s quick that’s for sure”. Warner continues, saying “he’s just got that rhythm about him, almost ambles to the crease, great rhythm to the crease and then just lets it rip!”
Australian coach Darren “Boof” Lehmann has certainly worked on his plans to cancel out the threat Rabada poses in the Test series, starting at the Waca on November 3.
“He’s tall, he bowls fast and swings it. He’s also strong and he keeps coming at you,” Lehmann said. “He is one that we are going to have to make bowl lots of overs and negate and him with the new ball.”
Although barely out of his teens, Rabada has already shown great maturity in his first couple of years of international cricket and is unlikely to be affected by all the side-shows.
Instead, he actually enjoys the banter flying around and is inspired to raise his game.
"Sometimes you can be going through the motions until you're challenged, and then you wake up,” Rabada told cricket.com.au.
"But the key is to not be spontaneous, the key is to be like that from the start. But yeah, sometimes something can spark you and you become something else.
"The boys are keen for it, but Australia are a very good team and nothing's going to come easy. International cricket is not easy at all. Australia are going to come hard, we're going to try and come hard. May the best man win."