CAPE TOWN – Kagiso Rabada was undoubtedly the star of a drama-filled Proteas’ international season, and his efforts were recognised as he swept the board with six awards at the Cricket South Africa function in Sandton on Saturday night.
But the 23-year-old paceman – who is ranked the number one bowler in Test cricket at the moment – still can’t quite believe what had happened more than 36 hours later.
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 – his superb in-ducker that sent controversial Australian opener David Warner’s off-stump cart-wheeling in the third Test at Newlands.
Rabada took 56 wickets in 10 Tests in South Africa last season, including a match haul of 11/150 against Australia at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
Of course, the “shoulder brush” with Australian captain Steve Smith and the successful appeal against the subsequent ICC two-match ban also added to the lustre of Rabada’s summer.
“Taken aback by all the awards I received..... I did not think the night would go that way, because, so many members of the team had great seasons,” Rabada tweeted on Monday morning.
“However, I want to thank everyone for their well wishes, it’s not taken for granted! I cannot wait to get back with the team.”
Taken aback by all the awards I received..... I did not think the night would go that way, because, so many members of the team had great seasons. However, i want to thank everyone for their well wishes, it’s not taken for granted ! I Cannot wait to get back with the team. 🔥
Later in a Cricket South Africa statement, Rabada added: “It felt good to do what I did, but at the same time, I really do think that the whole team contributed. 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...
“Those guys are not getting too much recognition, but when you are in the changing room, you see it all. I just feel like everyone contributed.”
Rabada said on Saturday night that he had enjoyed his break from the game – having not played in the IPL this season due to a back injury.
The Proteas will be in action next month as they travel to Sri Lanka for two Tests, five ODIs and a lone T20 international.
“I’ve been taking it one week at a time,” Rabada said. “When I got injured, there was a plan for three months that I should be ready for Sri Lanka, so let’s see if the plan is going to go accordingly.”
The Proteas tour fixtures are:
July 12-16: 1st Test, Galle
July 20-24: 2nd Test, Colombo
July 29: 1st ODI, Dambulla (day)
August 1: 2nd ODI, Dambulla (day/night)
August 5: 3rd ODI, Kandy (day)
August 8: 4th ODI, Kandy (d/n)
August 12: 5th ODI, Colombo (d/n)
August 14: T20 International, Colombo (d/n)