Rabada spitting fire at Kent
An instant hit with his trademark yorker under the sunny skies of Canterbury Proteas 2017 tour dates
EVERYWHERE Kagiso Rabada goes, the sun seems to shine on South Africa’s pace bowling sensation.
He is currently in England enjoying a short stint at the Kent Spitfires, for who he made an impressive T20 Blast debut against the Sussex Sharks on Thursday.
After a cold and wet start to the English summer, the 21- year- old’s first appearance for Kent played out on a glorious Canterbury day – so much so that the match had to be stopped twice for “bad light” due to the glare of the setting sun.
Rabada, fresh off a plane from the Caribbean where he was a standout performer in the Proteas’ disappointing TriNation Series against the West Indies and world champions Australia, certainly enjoyed his new surroundings.
He delivered a Man-of-theMatch performance with a haul of 2/ 31 from four overs to help propel Kent to a 10- run victory.
His wickets included what is now quickly becoming a trademark delivery – a 144.5km/ h yorker that uprooted Sussex opener Chris Nash’s off-stump. It was a copy of the South African’s delivery that castled Windies star Marlon Samuels last week in Barbados.
Rabada also dismissed former England T20 international Luke Wright, who was brilliantly caught on the third man boundary by David Griffiths.
“It was a great start for my debut and I’m just happy that I could contribute and that the team has won. It’s a good start for me and hopefully we can get some momentum from this,” Rabada told Kent’s official website.
“It was quite a good wicket but most of the guys felt we fell a bit short runs- wise, so credit to all the bowlers because we made it tough for them to score and got wickets Tour to New Zealand February 17: First T20 International, Eden Park, Auckland February 19: First ODI, Seddon Park, Hamilton February 22: Second ODI, Hagley Oval, Christchurch February 25: Third ODI, Westpac Stadium, Wellington March 1: Fourth ODI, McLean Park, Napier March 4: Fifth ODI, Eden Park Auckland March 8-12: First Test, University Oval, Dunedin March 16-20: Second Test, Basin Reserve, Wellington March 25-29: Third Test, Seddon Park, Hamilton Tour to England May 24: First ODI, Headingley, Leeds May 27: Second ODI, Rose Bowl, Southampton May 29: Third ODI, Lord’s, London June 1-19: ICC Champions Trophy June 21: First T20I, Rose Bowl, Southampton June 23: Second T20I, County Ground, Taunton June 25: Third T20I, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff July 6-10: First Test, Lord’s, London July 14-18: Second Test, Trent Bridge, Nottingham July 27-31: Third Test, The Oval, London August 4-8: Fourth Test, Old Trafford, Manchester at crucial times.”
After his opening burst, Rabada closed the game for Kent after captain Sam Northeast handed the young speedster the responsibility of bowling the last over with the Sharks requiring 23 runs to win.
Rabada conceded just 12 runs, with his second-last ball being hit for a six to spoil his otherwise impressive figures.
The man from Johannes- burg has admitted on social media that he is “missing South Africa and it’s diverse cultures” after a long spell on the road.
But he has warmed to the Kent locals, and has said that Canterbury “almost feels like I’m coming home”; Proteas Justin Kemp, Ryan McLaren, Martin van Jaarsveld, Vernon Philander, Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel and Makhaya Ntini have all spent time at Kent in recent years.
Rabada’s new teammates are certainly enjoying having him around in the dressing- room, with Sam Billings tweeting after Thursday’s game: “Great @ kentcricket team performance tonight! Cracking daybuuuw @ KagisoRabada25 – onto Chelmsford tomo #SuperKent”
Proteas coach Russell Domingo has expressed his concerns about the national team players’ workloads and commitments outside of international competition.
But Rabada’s contracted eight-match spell in the United Kingdom can only benefit South Africa in the long term.
It is the first time that he will be exposed to the extra swing and variables of the Duke ball, in comparison to the Kookaburra used back home and the rest of the world.
The Proteas’ next major tournament assignment is the ICC Champions Trophy in the UK next year.
HEITA! Kagiso Rabada’s exposure to the Duke ball in the UK can only benefit him and the Proteas in the long term.