It’s subtle but Kagiso Rabada has for once given an indication that, yes, he’s actually still only 22-years-old.
For the past three years the Proteas’ premier fast bowler has been forced to grow up very quickly due to the instability of the rest our South Africa’s fast bowling stocks.
The injuries at different times to men like Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris and Vernon Philander – plus the Kolpak departure of Kyle Abbott – have pushed Rabada to the forefront of his team’s bowling assaults.
But as pressure mounts on a weakened Proteas team that’s already 2-0 down in the ODI series against India, even he is starting to feel some strain.
“I don’t know if I am a senior,” Radaba said on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s crucial battle at Newlands.
“I know that for the people who came after me, I can guide them in a way. There aren’t many that have come after me; two or three.”
Another loss would mean South Africa can’t win the series anymore.
There’s a distinct sense that Rabada ism’t really all that interested anymore in trying to find answers for his side’s slump.
Much like questions on his seniority, he just wants to get onto the park and perform.
“When you’re losing its tough to find an answer. There’s so many answers that you can throw out,” said Rabada.
“You need to speak the right language in your mind, be really strong mentally, and all you can do is strive to perfect your skills on the pitch. The most important thing is for us to stay positive and try not to seek too many answers.”
Given the Proteas’ batting failures in the series to date, not much attention has been given to the fact that the hosts are struggling to take wickets too – especially Virat Kohli
Rabada has been, relatively speaking, able to keep his head high but it’s not like his been overly successful.
In fact, his smart plan to bounce out Rohit Sharma in Centurion was a rare instance of some creative thinking.
He also tried that strategy with Kohli.
“Obviously that was one of the plans, bowling short balls (to Virat). You try and look for ways to get wickets, as many ways as you can get them,” said Rabada.