Rabada: I'm still learning
The best fast bowler in the world feels that he still has a lot of room for improvement.
In fact, even as he has gone through this 2018/19 campaign, Kagiso Rabada hasn’t felt at anywhere near his best.
“I’ve felt that I’ve been struggling since Zimbabwe, and I have been finding it hard. I was finding that I wasn’t really clicking.
"Although I was still getting wickets, it’s not the best that I’ve felt,” he admitted.
“I just felt like, at the crease, I was weak. I felt weak. You fight a lot of demons in your head, more than anything. But you always fight demons,” he said sagely.
It was stark honesty – élite, even as the Aussies might say.
“It’s been a huge learning curve for me. I’ve just tried to stick my head down, and try and get back to where I was. Or try and exceed where I was,” he elaborated.
“I’ve learnt that this game isn’t easy, but I am happy with this (form now), and I am going to try and run with it and see where I can add more one percenters.”
His mini break after the Pakistan ODI series seems to have done him a lot of good. He went off and did the things that ordinary young men take for granted.
He sat on the couch and forgot about training. He went out, and he was even handed a new, fast toy by his sponsors.
Refreshed, he came back with a vengeance in the second one-dayer at Centurion, in particular.
“It felt like things were clicking much better than they were at the crease. I felt like I was running in better, and I didn’t really mind where the ball was going, to be honest. I just ran in,” he smiled.
Freedom of expression is also a thing in cricket, and Rabada ran and bowled like the wind on Wednesday. He effortlessly nudged past 150km/* , putting the hurry on the likes of Niroshan Dickwella. He was bowling freely.
In the process, he went past 100 one-day international wickets, ticking off yet another milestone on the way to his destiny.
“I have never been as free as I was in my debut game. There is expectation that comes (with his performances since), then there is a bit of pressure. But this is a pressurised environment, and you are supposed to deal with it,” he observed.
There has been a lot of growing up going on within Rabada. Quietly, perhaps, but there is certainly a more considered perspective from the tearaway.
“The more you play, the quicker you figure out things better. Because if ever you go through things like this, you know how to fix it. You know what to do. Some people learn it as they start playing, and some learn it at the end of their careers. So that’s the challenge for me, to see how quickly can I learn about myself.”
Even as he figures it out, and slips back into his preferred rhythm, with pace back up, Rabada maintains that there is still a lot of room for improvement.
“There always is, because this game always finds a way to humble you. My personal desire is to keep exploring. I am an exploring kind of guy.
"The one area I would like to improve on in is my one-day (game). I just need to find a way to get wickets in one-day cricket.”
If he finds the formula he is after with the white ball, it will be fascinating to see what heights South Africa’s spearhead might still reach.
Still learning, he reckons.@Whamzam17