Dubai: South Africa’s leading pacer Kagiso Rabada, who played a big hand behind Delhi Capitals’ resurgence in 2019 season, wants to do an encore in the upcoming season of the Dream11 Indian Premier League in UAE.
The 25-year-old South African, who took 25 wickets in 12 games last year, was back in training after completing a six-day quarantine with the rest of the squad on Monday evening. “It feels good to be running in, and to be with some teammates as well. It is of course some old teammates and some new ones,” he said after his first nets session with the franchise this season. Delhi open their campaign against Kings XI Punjab at the Dubai International Stadium on September 20.
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Speaking on the prospect of playing after having been off competition for the last five months due to the pandemic, Rabada said it was a unique moment for everyone to be playing again now. He said, “This (situation) is quite unique, not a lot of people get to do this. We’re in the middle of a desert, playing cricket – it’s something that I didn’t think I would ever be able to do. So it’s a lot of fun also.”
The second-highest wicket-taker in the IPL last season, Rabada was also candid on how lockdown gave him the opportunity to take a break from cricket. “It’s been a high volume of cricket in the past five years for me, but I really enjoyed the break at home. I was just chilling with my family, getting to see my friends (virtually) during lockdown. So yeah being home was the best thing,” he said.
Speaking on how he feels ahead of the tournament which gets under way on September 19, he said: “I feel quite strong. I think I just need to bowl more, and make sure I haven’t forgotten how to bowl (laughs). I need to keep up with the bowling practice, but otherwise I feel healthy.”
Looking back at his team’s campaign, Rabada said he’s hoping for Delhi Capitals to be the most consistent team. “We had a really good season, so I know that we can challenge and win this competition because we came really close last season, so mentally I guess that helps. But also, it is a new tournament so we have to start again and we’ve got a nice group put together, nice team,” said Rabada, who has 31 wickets in his IPL career in just 18 matches.
Meanwhile, Australian opener Chris Lynn joined the Mumbai Indians squad in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday. Two of their other overseas professionals: Trent Boult and James Pattinson had already joined the group last week.