’Young’ Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock at the forefront of Proteas rebuild
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JOHANNESBURG - Kagiso Rabada hopes Saturday’s comprehensive innings and 63-run victory against the West Indies will be the catalyst for a brighter future for the Proteas.
Rabada capped off an excellent and clinical all-round display by South Africa by taking his tenth Test ‘five-for’ in the West Indies second innings, his first since the second Test against Australia at St Georges Park in 2018.
“We are a young team and we’re re-building,” said Rabada. “Even our most experienced players are young; myself and Quinny are among the most experienced in the team.
“For me to be one of the most experienced at 26 gives you a picture of how young we are as a team. This performance will give us massive confidence moving forward, not only into the next Test match but also for the year ahead.”
It was South Africa’s first away win for almost three years, an illustration of just how much the retirements of big names like Hashim Amla and Vernon Philander have impacted the side. It has meant Rabada has needed to step to the fore as not just a leader of the attack, but in the whole squad, something he certainly did in St. Lucia over two and half days.
“This game can be unforgiving. We were consistent in our preparations and established the type of cricket that we want to play and set standards that we want to uphold and stuck to that. If we continue to do that, the luck is eventually going to be on our side.”
Rabada pointed to how lapses in concentration in recent years had proved costly. The fielding is the one department which has suffered in that respect, and in St. Lucia the Proteas showed a massive improvement, with just one mistake from Kyle Verreynne late on the second evening.
⛔️ RESULT | #PROTEAS WIN BY AN INNINGS AND 63 RUNS— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) June 12, 2021
A clinical performance by the #Proteas sees them wrap up the first Test match on Day 3 at the Daren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia#WIvSA #ThatsOurGame pic.twitter.com/8IWL6tDvfW
The slip cordon - a new unit featuring skipper Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram and Wiaan Mulder, with Keegan Petersen in the gully - were outstanding, with Mulder taking four catches at third slip.
“In previous games we played we were lacking in important periods, and somehow let the game slip away,” said Rabada. “We were good in patches and at times got sloppy.
“In this Test we kept our foot on the throttle, identified those moments where we’d slacked off in the past and now stuck to your guns.”
Elgar, speaking on television afterwards, said his side had fulfilled the targets he’d set for them prior to arriving in the Caribbean.
“I wanted us to score hundreds, Quinny did that for us, I wanted five-fors from the bowlers and we got two of those. The bowlers really rose to the occasion and we passed 300 with the bat, something we’ve not done enough lately,” said the Proteas captain.
“It was a really good team performance, especially from the bowlers although it wasn’t the easiest wicket on which to bat,” Rabada remarked.
“I thought our guys applied themselves well. Aiden batted extremely well, Rassie absorbed pressure and then Quinton just did his thing ... that’s the Quinny that we know.”
“We’ve got so much potential in our team and it came out in this Test. We are hoping for more of the same in the future.”