Johannesburg - Kagiso Rabada acknowledged that his performance at the recent T20 World Cup “wasn’t up to scratch,” but added that he lacked intensity at that tournament because his workloads leading into it were too high.
“I didn’t feel that great in terms of energy. I still tried my best, it just felt that the harder I tried, it just wasn’t really coming out,” Rabada said on Thursday, ahead of the Proteas’ departure for a three-test series in Australia.
“I’m not one to make any excuses, I wasn’t up to scratch.”
Rabada picked up only two wickets in the tournament in five matches, at an average of 75.50, while his strike-rate was an underwhelming 9.44. South Africa crashed out of that tournament in embarrassing fashion, losing their final group match to the Netherlands. Had they won, they’d have qualified for the semi-finals.
“You can feel it in the intensity of your play, your intensity is not where you want it to be, and it catches up with you over time,” Rabada explained. “Playing at international level, you want to be at high intensity more often than not, it’s just a challenge that needs to be met.”
Charl Langeveldt, the Proteas bowling coach, said in a recent interview that Cricket South Africa needed to be wary of how it managed Rabada, adding that while he’s just 27, there was a high risk of burn out. Rabada agreed.
“It is a concern with the amount of cricket that is being played nowadays and basically it needs to be managed and plans need to be made accordingly,” he said.
It’s the second time Rabada’s heavy workload has surfaced at an ICC event. It was the same in 2019 when he had a poor 50-over tournament, with concerns having arisen over his participation in the Indian Premier League that year.
On that occasion, then Proteas coach Ottis Gibson wanted to pull Rabada out of the IPL at the halfway stage of the competition, but it was only after CSA medical staff detected a back ailment, that he was allowed to leave a week before a training camp with the Proteas.
“If it’s happened twice then it is something that seriously needs to be considered. It is what I have realised and I am sure management have realised too. We need to come up with some plans, not just for me, but for all players,” said Rabada.
Meanwhile, the leader of the Proteas’ potent bowling unit said his teammates need not be intimidated by the prospect of playing Australia at home.
“If you play at the Wanderers or Centurion, these are quite similar conditions to playing in Australia.
“You definitely get some bounce. They are known for (producing) good wickets. You generally get a bit of nip, it can swing at times, it’s the bounce and pace that’s your ally.”
Rabada has been part of two series successes against Australia, including the 2016 triumph Down Under.
“I have good memories of playing in Australia and hopefully we continue in this vein.”
After a lengthy break following the T20 World Cup, Rabada is keen to get going again.
“I’m excited to play some cricket and test myself and (for us) to be tested as a team. Going to Australia is not going to be easy. I’m just keen to play cricket again and test myself.”