World No 1 Kagiso Rabada aims higher
DUBAI (92 News) – Kagiso Rabada finished 2018 as No.1 on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Rankings for Bowlers. But that doesn’t mean his hunger to improve is diminished.
Rabada also had the most Test wickets in 2018 – 52 at just 20.07 – and at a young 23 years old, he seems primed to break a bunch of records in his career. The last few months have been tiring, he admitted, but in words that should come as a warning to batsmen everywhere, the South African fast bowler said he is itching to reach another level this year.
Top performers of 2018 – Men’s Tests
Most runs: @imVkohli – 1322
High score: @Tomlatham2 – 264* v Sri Lanka, Wellington
Most wickets: @KagisoRabada25 -52
Best figures: @keshavmaharaj16 – 9/129 v Sri Lanka, Colombo#BestOf2018 pic.twitter.com/qUbcOjRKL9
— ICC (@ICC) December 31, 2018
“There are obviously a few goals I would like to achieve and the team as well,” Rabada told reporters ahead of the second Test against Pakistan starting on Thursday, 3 January. “Just to improve on what I feel I could have done better last year.
“There are always things you want to improve on. You never really arrive, ever. It is just the way I am, I’m always looking for places to improve on. But at the same time I have learnt to acknowledge my strengths and realise that things won’t come so quickly. You have to look at the minor battles.”
While South Africa were demolishing Pakistan to win the Boxing Day Test inside three days in Centurion, in another part of the world, India’s pace attack were again giving a good account of themselves against Australia. Given how well the Indian quicks had done in South Africa and England earlier in the year, there have been suggestions that the subcontinental side could challenge the South African fast bowlers for the tag of ‘best in the world’.
Rabada, understandably, talked up his own side. “People will have their opinion,” he said. “But obviously when we play we believe we are the best. [The Indians] are a good attack, everyone here experienced it when they came down to South Africa. But when we play against them, we will believe we are the best – you have to.”
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) January 2, 2019
Rabada and Dale Steyn led the charge with the ball in the first Test against Pakistan, with Vernon Philander and Lungi Ngidi out injured. Duanne Olivier came in to have the match of his life, picking up 10 wickets. Now, with Philander set to return at a Newlands ground where he has a tremendous record – 49 wickets at an average of 16.55 and a strike-rate of 35.1 – it leaves the team management with a decision to make about their final line-up.
“I don’t like to get involved in team selection, it’s not my place,” insisted Rabada. “But it is a bit of a headache now. People are talking about whether Vern will come back and Duanne sits out. It’s a good headache to have.”