'It's something that I didn't expect' - Kagiso Rabada opens up on his one-match suspension

The past 12 months have been tumultuous for South African cricket both on and off the field.

Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada. (Photo by Philip Brown/Popperfoto/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

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South Africa are staring down at another series defeat at home. After having lost the third Test in Port Elizabeth by a margin of an innings thanks to an inept performance by their batting unit. Heading into the fourth Test at Johannesburg where they must win in order to ensure that England does not run away with a series from their home turf for the fourth consecutive occasion [2004, 2009, 2015-16] this century.

And, to make matters worse, they’ll have to do it without their pace-bowling spearhead Kagiso Rabada. The 22-year-old tearaway pacer’s indifferent relationship with Port Elizabeth continued during the third Test after he was found guilty of breaching the ICC ‘Code of Conduct’ for aggressively celebrating on a cricket field.

Rabada went slightly overboard with his celebrations after he had bamboozled Joe Root’s defence with a brute of delivery; one that beat Joe Root for pace while at the same time, also kept low. Rabada will be missing the Johannesburg Test after the right-handed bolter accepted the punishment. 

Rabada does not want to question the decision despite garnering enormous support from former cricketers and fans, and while he is obviously disappointed on “letting the team down”, he wants to use this time to work on his game.

“It’s something that I didn’t expect. Whether it was the right thing to ban me or the wrong thing, the reality is that I am banned. Obviously, it hurts, but it gives me a chance to work on my game and to have a bit of a rest. It can’t keep happening, because I’m letting the team down and I’m letting myself down. It just can’t keep happening and that’s why it hurts so much.” Kagiso Rabada said to Sport24.

Kagiso Rabada confident that South Africa can level the series in Jo’Burg

The past 12 months have been tumultuous for South African cricket both on and off the field. And, while Rabada has had no role behind the off-field circus, his on-field performances have certainly mirrored the national sides’ struggles. But, Rabada is trying to remain positive and whoever replaces him in the fourth Test, that bowler will have the full backing from the pace spearhead. Rabada is also confident that South Africa can indeed level the series in Jo’Burg.

“I have belief in anyone who is going to come into my spot that they have the ability to knock anyone over. That is why they are picked for South Africa. We can go there and level the series if a few things go our way … it’s highly, highly possible”

He added, “It’s difficult to find solutions when you are not doing so well in your career, and us as steam have not been doing so well. You can get into a situation where you overthink trying to find solutions, so it’s quite tough to say what to do. I think the most important thing would be to stay positive and play positively.

Kagiso Rabada wants to use this time to work on his action

One of the things that has been missing from Rabada’s bowling in the past 12 months is consistency. Since the start of January 2019, the South African has claimed 68 wickets in 31 games across all the three formats at an average of 29.61; a far cry from his career average of 22. And, the South African wants to use this time to work on his action in order to add more consistency to his bowling.

 It’s difficult when you’re not playing well and everyone will have an opinion on you. We’ve played cricket long enough to know how to get out of a slump, but it can be difficult.”

He added, “I’d like to be more consistent in my action and that is going to bring a more consistent output in terms of my delivery and more quality as well. I think now is the time where I need to put behind my rawness. It’s time to really clock my game and know my game really well. I think I’m going through that phase at the moment.”

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