Kagiso Rabada Vs Andre Russell in a super over in the IPL. The unbelievably consistent Andre Russell didn’t have any answers to Kagiso Rabada’s pinpoint yorkers. The South African was the toast of the town at that point. Many believed he was the best bowler in the world. Three months down the line, the scenario has changed.
Kagiso Rabada himself knows he is not being talked about anymore. At least, definitely not in the same breath as Jasprit Bumrah, Pat Cummins or Jofra Archer. “I admire those bowlers, they are good bowlers. However the media hypes certain players, and that’s Ok, I know I have been playing very well. Archer is such a natural talent, Bumrah is doing wonders and that can force you to lift your game. You are not always at the top, that’s one thing I can tell you,” Rabada told iol.co.za.
Like how there is a Fab 4 (Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson, Joe Root) for batsmen, there is a Fab 4 (Jasprit Bumrah, Kagiso Rabada, Pat Cummins, Jofra Archer) for bowlers too in the minds of cricket fans. But with the other three putting up stunning performances one after the other, Rabada has been forgotten to an extent, or at least according to Rabada himself, people have forgotten the bowler who was tipped to become the next all-time bowling great.
A major reason for this was South Africa and Rabada’s unimpressive performances in the 2019 World Cup. Rabada looked down on rhythm, down on pace and didn’t really come across as a major threat for the opposition through the World Cup. One could say that such a performance was in the offing considering that Rabada’s workload hadn’t been managed properly by the South African team management. He was arguably overused, ground down and made to look like a shadow of himself.
Now the reportedly forgotten Rabada has a chance to remind people about his prodigious talent once again. What better place can there be to do that than India. It was Rabada’s terrific performances in the one-day series during South Africa’s last tour of India in 2015 that made the world pay attention to this world-class talent. In that series, Rabada displayed remarkable death-overs bowling ability to stop MS Dhoni and India from winning a tight game at Kanpur. Eventually, Rabada ended up with 10 wickets in the series as South Africa posted a remarkable 3-2 win.
From there on, Rabada never looked back as he helped South Africa with some stunning spells around the world including a fantastic 2-1 Test series win in Australia in November 2016. The South African fast-bowling spearhead will want to reproduce such displays during this Indian tour which starts with the three-match T20I series. The 24-year-old will want to reproduce the kind of form that helped him pick up 25 wickets in the IPL a few months ago.
Rabada will also take a look at his under-par performance during the Test series in 2015 to ensure that he betters it this time around. The pitches were totally against the pacers but Rabada would still have wanted to pick more than 2 wickets in the three matches he played. Now with more experience and expertise in terms of extracting reverse swing, Rabada would like to be a handful for India when the three-Test match series starts from 2nd October.
All said and done, it isn’t as if Rabada is at the lowest stage in his career. He is still the #2 Test and #3 ODI bowler according to the ICC Test Rankings. But a bowler of his quality and talent will always want to be at the forefront of people’s minds. That is what any great sportsperson looks to do. Be careful before you bet against Kagiso Rabada turning his fortunes in his favour once again.