The Proteas have Kagiso Rabada back for Saturday’s vital 3rd ODI against New Zealand in Wellington.
By now it’s not surprising that his teammates are excited about such a development after the brilliant young quick missed Wednesday’s six-run loss in Christchurch due to a knee injury.
“He has been stalwart for us for a while now,” said middle-order stalwart JP Duminy on Friday.
“He has been our main strike bowler in most formats and it’s always a great strength for us to have him in our attack. It will be good to see him back.”
Indeed, South Africa’s attack did lack his firepower in a match where they only took four Black Cap wickets.
But Rabada’s absence – even though it wasn’t a long one – has some jittery over.
The 21-year-old’s workload had previously been the subject of much discussion yet only really came into focus again this week.
Rabada has already bowled more than 700 overs in international cricket since mid-2015 and bowled 431.3 in 2016 alone.
Given the Proteas’ crammed schedule for 2017, his body really does need to be managed.
Of course, it also doesn’t help that Rabada was snapped up at the IPL auction this week, where he fetched a bid of just under R10 million.
It’s highly likely that the national players in this year’s tournament will come back earlier from the tournament to prepare for the ICC Champions Trophy, meaning Delhi – his IPL franchise – would want to get maximum return on investment on him.
That could also influence his workload.
Whisper it softly but it might not be a bad thing then if the Proteas could find a way to make due without him for the rest of the ODI series – transformation requirements aside.
However, it doesn’t seem as if South Africa are too disheartened by their winning streak being broken.
In fact, they still view this one-day series as very much winnable.
“It was kind of inevitable at some point we’d lose a game. It’s something we have spoken about, that it doesn’t put us in any different situation in terms of where we’re trying to go as a team, our preparation and our goals,” said Duminy.
“We’re trying to work towards the Champions Trophy and it’s probably a good thing to go through a few losses along the way to bring us back down to earth and understand there are certain things we still have to improve on.”