Kagiso Rabada has just one Indian Premier League (IPL) team on his portfolio – the Delhi Capitals – but notwithstanding his loyalty to them, the fast bowler said on Thursday that the Proteas were his first priority and he would probably have to miss the first week or so of this year’s T20 extravaganza in India.
The Delhi side, originally known as the Delhi Daredevils before a name change ahead of the 2019 IPL, were runners-up in last year’s competition, with Rabada playing a key role as the leading wicket-taker.
He was unsurprisingly retained for this year’s edition, at a salary of R8.4 million.
But the Capitals had expressed some anxiety about his availability this year as fixture-starved South Africa were set to host a white-ball series against Pakistan from April 2-16.
Although the dates for the IPL had not yet been officially confirmed, it was believed likely there would be some overlap.
“In terms of the IPL, my country comes first,” Rabada said.
“It looks like I might miss about a week of the IPL, but the Proteas are my priority.
“That being said, Delhi is my home in India. They’re the only team I’ve played for in the IPL and they have looked after me really well.”
The 25-year-old Lions star is now in Durban preparing for the CSA T20 Challenge which starts on Friday with the Titans playing the Knights and the Dolphins taking on the Cape Cobras.
The Lions, who won the T20 Challenge the last time it was held in 2018/19, start their campaign on Saturday against the Warriors.
The Lions certainly have the firepower to be considered one of the favourites, with Rabada leading a bowling attack that includes fellow Proteas in pacemen Dwaine Pretorius, Beuran Hendricks, Wiaan Mulder and Lutho Sipamla and the left-arm spinners Bjorn Fortuin and Aaron Phangiso.
The entire tournament is being held at Kingsmead.