Kagiso Rabada: I’m 150 percent committed to playing for South Africa
Rabada claimed 21 wickets at an average of 32.85 over the past 12 months, but such are the lofty standards the 25-year-old has upheld over the course of his career that it was indeed his worst haul since his Test debut in Mohali in 2015.
“The past season was a disappointment,” Rabada said. “Even though I see that my stats are okay, I just felt really rusty and a bit out of place.”
Rabada has certainly cut a frustrated figure since last year’s 50-over World Cup in England and Wales when he failed to live up to his high-profile billing. The poor performance at the World Cup was partly due to a lengthy stint at the IPL.
In fact, it has been more than two years since Rabada’s last Test “five-for”, when he bowled South Africa to victory in the infamous second Test against Australia at St George’s Park with a match-haul of 11/150.
It was during the Test that Rabada brushed Steve Smith’s shoulder in celebration after claiming the then Australian captain’s wicket. Rabada’s actions required the intervention of advocate Dali Mpofu to ensure that his initial ICC Level 2 sanction was reduced to Level 1, allowing the fast bowler to play in the remaining two Test matches.
However, Rabada was not so fortunate this past season when, ironically, at the same ground he over-zealously celebrated dismissing England captain Joe Root. Rabada was handed one demerit point for his actions that led to him being suspended for the final Test at the Wanderers.
The vultures were certainly starting to close in on Rabada with all the eye-balls zoomed in on not only the declining performances, but once again also his much-debated temperament.
With Rabada’s career seemingly at a crossroads, the enforced Covid-19 break has allowed the former St Stithians prodigy sufficient breathing space and time to take a step back and re-evaluate his goals.
“Getting the rest is cool. I’m really enjoying my time. It has allowed me to think about what I really want and makes it easier to set goals and enjoy more. I’m 150 percent committed to playing for South Africa. I just think that it’s passion. I realise that it was never supposed to be easy and I’m taking it day by day trying to achieve my new set of goals,” Rabada said.
“I’ve identified things that I needed to identify. So, I will address them with the people that are closest to me and who I feel should be helping me address them.
“I think it is important that you don’t take what people say to heart. You’ll always have a lot of critics. But as long as you’re true to yourself, that’s the most important thing because then you can grow. What other people say about you should not affect you at all.”