The South African interviews K

The South African interviews Kagiso Rabada, a star that’ll shine for a long time

Kagiso Rabada talks about his County Cricket stint with Kent, the bowlers he admires, developing his batting and playing FIFA.

The South African interviews K

Kagiso Rabada has taken the cricketing world by storm over the last year or so. He has established himself as a regular for the Proteas in all formats, and has already notched up a number of significant personal records, from taking 6 for 16 on his ODI debut (including a hat-trick) to securing a record breaking 13 wicket haul against England at Centurion in his most recent Test outing.

With 24 Test wickets at an average of 24.7 and a Strike Rate of 39.6 after six Tests (three of them played in pace-unfriendly Indian conditions), it will be interesting to see how Kagiso performs in the upcoming Test series against New Zealand. South Africa will be looking to bounce back up the rankings, after losing two Test series on the trot. The cause will definitely be helped if Kagiso continues to surprise and delight the cricketing world.

I caught up with him briefly, on the hottest day in the UK summer, at the leafy Nevill Cricket Ground in Tunbridge Wells.

You have had a very busy and successful start to your career – have you got a favourite moment or an achievement you are particularly proud of?

These have been very good times for me. I cannot pick one highlight – I have just enjoyed playing for my country.

South Africa has been fortunate to have developed some truly great fast bowlers in recent years – Donald, Ntini & Steyn spring to mind. As someone who is blessed with a strike bowler’s instincts, who are your bowling heroes?

There have been many great bowlers with such a range of different skills; there are quite a few now who have taken 400 Test wickets. I really admire the South Africans you have mentioned, as well as Curtly Ambrose, Malcolm Marshall, Glenn McGrath and Wasim Akram, who could swing the ball both ways and bowl precise yorkers. I also find James Anderson and Stuart Broad great to watch. Perhaps Shane Warne sticks out for me; he is a master strategist and he breaks the rules!

Amla mentioned, during a light-hearted moment in a press conference a few months ago, that you see yourself as a bit of a Chris Gayle when it comes to batting in the nets? Do you work much on your batting – is it something you hope to develop?

I want to try and help out whenever I can – I won’t neglect my batting. Hopefully one day I can really score some runs and develop into a bowling all-rounder.

A number of South African players have enjoyed playing for Kent in recent years, including Ryan McLaren, Makhaya Ntini and Vernon Philander. Many cricketers cite experience in England as essential to their development. What do you feel you have got out of your stint with the club?

I came here in order to gain experience. It has been really good – I have enjoyed my time, both on and off the field. There is lots of banter within the team, they are a great bunch of guys. The level in England is similar to back home I feel, and I have enjoyed experiencing a different cricketing culture.

How do you unwind away from the game?

I like my music – I sometimes lay down a few beats, and play a bit of piano. I enjoy chilling with friends and playing a bit of FIFA – typical of a 21 year old really.