RABADA: I’ve learnt my les­son

Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART HESS at the Oval

KAG­ISO Rabada’s not go­ing to change his fiery, com­pet­i­tive na­ture on the field – he can’t – but he’ll bite his tongue in fu­ture lest he fall foul of the law again.

Rabada let loose a pri­mal roar and thrust both arms pow­er­fully in cel­e­bra­tion af­ter his glo­ri­ous dis­missal of Eng­land debu­tant Dawid Malan, with a 141 kmph yorker that knocked back the stumps and left the bats­man on his knees.

No words were said, none were re­quired and hence­forth that’s the way Rabada wants to keep it. “Ob­vi­ously I made a mis­take and I won’t make it again. That’s it. Just don’t say any­thing,” he re­marked af­ter play yes­ter­day.

The one-match ban, which kept him out of the Trent Bridge Test hurt, he ac­knowl­edged. In the first Test at Lord’s Rabada was heard shout­ing “f*** off” af­ter dis­miss­ing Ben Stokes in the first in­nings. Nei­ther team nor any for­mer play­ers who’ve viewed the in­ci­dent sub­se­quently be­lieve Rabada di­rected those words at Stokes, rather it was a re­lease of his own frus­tra­tion.

“It’s re­ally sim­ple: don’t swear, but just be your­self. I don’t have any bad in­ten­tions. We talk off the field, my­self and Stokes and the other play­ers,” said Rabada.

“We go and have a beer to­gether af­ter the game. It’s just that in the game it gets re­ally com­pet­i­tive and there’s a his­tory of play­ing against one an­other that also sparks that. I’ll just fol­low the rules.”

That it should lead to a Test ban – as a re­sult of earn­ing ad­di­tional de­merit points fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent ear­lier in the sea­son with Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dick­wella – is some­thing that’s proved a painful les­son for the 22 year old.

“It’s never nice be­ing banned. It was a dis­ap­point­ment, but if you’re not dis­ap­pointed, it shows that you don’t care enough,” he said. “I knew that I had messed up, but I knew that there were a lot of guys com­ing in that could per­form. Like Mor­rie (Chris Mor­ris), look what he did in the last Test match. I knew the team wasn’t go­ing to be any worse. We’ve got a lot of tal­ent. I’m not the main guy of the team. But, yeah, it was a bit heart­break­ing but you just have to move on.”

Rabada has been itch­ing to get go­ing for this Test and per­haps it was in try­ing too hard in his first spell yes­ter­day that his lines weren’t as good as they should have been.

He ad­mit­ted that watch­ing Ver­non Phi­lan­der, who fin­ished with two wick­ets yes­ter­day, was a re­minder of what was re­quired in the Test arena.

“I was watch­ing from mid wicket in the last ses­sion and I thought he bowled so well. Go­ing off the field, I asked him for a few point­ers. He is a re­ally skil­ful bowler, es­pe­cially in these con­di­tions. He makes it look re­ally sim­ple.”

One of Eng­land’s other debu­tants, Tom West­ley, was left to rue what he felt was a soft dis­missal af­ter lunch. “It was a step up in terms of ev­ery­thing that goes along with Test cricket, the pres­sure, but that’s why it was equally frus­trat­ing be­cause I felt I was cop­ing nicely for that hour be­fore lunch, and the soft dis­missal af­ter was frus­trat­ing.”

West­ley scored 25 and shared a sec­ond wicket stand of 52 with Alas­tair Cook.

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