Dubai: Kagiso Rabada, the classy South African pace ace, wants to pick up the best qualities of four legends of his craft to make himself the ‘complete’ bowler. In a freewheeling chat on Instagram live on the official handle of his IPL team Delhi Capitals, Rabada proved sharp and witty with his repartees. Replying to a
fan’s question on what qualities he would want to have from other fast bowlers, the 25-year-old came up with a gem: “If I had to become a bowler by combining the best of all fast bowlers of all time, I’d pick the pace of Shoaib Akhtar, the bounce, line and length of Glenn McGrath, the aggression of Dale Steyn, and the swing of Jimmy Anderson – that’s the bowler I would love to be!”
Rabada, who played an insturmental role in resurgence of the Delhi franchise last season, took 25 wickets from 12 games before leaving midway due to an injury. While the IPL has been indefinitely postponed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and there is now speculation of the cash-rich league finding a window later in the year - the sport is now expected to resume with a closed door series between England and the West Indies next month.
Asked about his take on resuming cricket without fans, the South African said: “It’s going to be bizarre to play in empty stadiums, especially during international matches. But the world has to move on. There will still be tough competition when teams play, and people can still enjoy that on TV.”
Widely known for being expressive on the field, the young bowler was quite clear in his thinking. “A lot of people think I have a short temper. The thing is that sledging is a part of the game. No fast bowler is going to be nice to the batsman, but what we need to understand is that it’s never personal. After the game, you shake hands, respect each other’s crafts and move on,” said the world No. 5 one-day & Test bowler.
The break of nearly three months had been tough on all professional sportspersons, but Rabada had used it thoughtfully. He has been keeping himself busy with a podcast he has started with a friend: “I’ve kept myself busy creatively. I’ve been working on a podcast called The Viral Wellness, with a friend, where we get experts to come and talk about wellness – physical, mental, educational – and both of us just try and have some fun with the script.
“I haven’t had the chance to bowl yet or use the cricket facilities, but professional athletes are now allowed to use gyms here in South Africa, so I’m just doing enough to keep myself going. But I’m also really pleased that I’ve had such a long break from cricket after five years of continuous competition. I’ve really found it to be very relaxing,” Rabada said.
Having injured his groin earlier this year, Rabada had to miss South Africa’s tour of India that had to be abandoned midway owing to the COVID-19 outbreak. “I would’ve been ready for the IPL in March. I had a tear in my groin but I healed quite quickly, and believed I would have been able to play the IPL if it had started as scheduled,” he said.
“It was something I was really looking forward to, especially after last season’s performance which was, no doubt, a huge motivator for all of us. It was also by far the most enjoyable season I’ve been part of.” Rabada said.
Signing off, he also mentioned former batting greats he would’ve loved to bowl to. “I think Kevin Pietersen, Sachin Tendulkar, Vivian Richards and Ricky Ponting would be the batsmen I would love to bowl to,” he added.