Kagiso Rabada has heaped praise on his Proteas teammates crediting them for his sublime performances this season.
The 23-year-old paceman, who is ranked the number one bowler in Test cricket at the moment, walked away with six awards at the Cricket South Africa awards in Sandton last weekend.
“The one thing that has made a big difference to me this season is the support from my teammates,” Rabada told the Saturday Star. “Their contributions allowed me to perform at my best during the season.”
Rabada was chosen as the overall Cricketer of the Season, Players’ Player of the Season, Test Cricketer, ODI Cricketer, Fans’ Player and he also produced the Delivery of the Season - for his superb in-swinger that sent controversial Australian opener David Warner's off-stump cartwheeling in the third Test at Newlands.
Rabada took 56 wickets in 10 Tests in South Africa last season.
While Rabada is thrilled to have walked away with an incredible six awards on the night, he didn't expect to clinch so many.
“There were many fantastic individual performances throughout the season, so I expected some of my teammates to bag some awards. I'm happy to have had a successful season, but I'm even happier that the team did well and that we managed to put in some memorable performances against quality opposition.
“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. I just feel like everyone contributed.”
Winning the Players Player of the Year award stands out the most for Rabada.
“To be recognised and backed by your peers is priceless. They're the ones you go through the good times and bad times with so their vote of confidence is the proudest feeling for me.”
Rabada also considers his delivery to remove Warner at Newlands as one of best wickets he has ever taken.
“It was a very special wicket, especially because of the occasion.”
Rabada has been nothing short of a revelation for the Proteas ever since he made his debut in 2015. In just under three years he has catapulted himself to the top. But it's something Rabada didn't see coming so early in his career.
“I don't think I ever expected to achieve what I have in such a short time. I'm a person who likes to take things one match at a time. I know it's clichéd, but that is how I have paced myself in my career. I didn't think it would all happen so quickly.”
He has had little time to celebrate his accolades, as he is fighting to get fit for the Proteas upcoming series against Sri Lanka next month.
“My rehabilitation is coming along very well. I have started bowling again, so hopefully, I can be fit by the time the series against Sri Lanka comes up.”
Rabada hopes his awards and accolades will help further inspire young black cricketers in the country.
“We understand that as international cricketers we have a bigger responsibility than just playing the game we love.”
The Saturday Star