Rabada is South Africa’s WC weapon

Afp, Johannesburg

25 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

In a World Cup expected to be dominated by batsmen, South Africa hope to buck the trend with a bowling attack led by the precociously talented Kagiso Rabada.

Rabada has topped the International Cricket Council’s bowler rankings in both Tests and one-day internationals, making the paceman one of South Africa’s key figures at the World Cup.

Able to bowl at speeds close to 93 miles per hour (150 kilometres per hour) with a languid action, swinging the ball in both directions and delivering pinpoint yorkers almost at will, Rabada is captain Faf du Plessis’ go-to man when South Africa desperately need a wicket.

Rabada turns 24 on May 25 — just five days before his team’s clash with England in the tournament opener at the Oval — but he is already experienced enough to be regarded as a potential World Cup game-changer.

“I saw that my parents worked quite hard and then achieved a lot, so I didn’t feel like at any time I struggled,” Rabada said in an early interview.

“At the same time, I knew what it was like for people to struggle.”

Rugby was his first sporting love but it was soon obvious he had cricketing ability as a swashbuckling left-handed batsman and raw fast bowler.

Wim Jansen, director of cricket at St Stithians, said Rabada always had raw pace but was inconsistent and bowled too many no-balls.

“He was a quick learner and worked incredibly hard, and still does. His discipline, especially in terms of conditioning exercise, was incredible,” Jansen said.