Kagiso Rabada: Dale Steyn’s line, length and pace is worth emulating
Kagiso Rabada can generate a good burst of pace © Getty Images (File Photo)
Kagiso Rabada, South Africa Under-19 team’s pace bowler talks to Nishad Pai Vaidya about his game-plan, his idols and lots more.
Kagiso Rabada was the star for South Africa during the semi-final of the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014 against Australia. The Australians, who have been born and bred on quick surfaces, were hurried by this young seamer who clocked about 140 kmph consistently. Not only that, but he also got subtle movement and used the short ball to good effect. Ultimately, his figures of six for 25 are proof of his heroic effort and he is one for the future.
In a quick chat with CricketCountry after the victory against Australia, Rabada talks about his game-plan, idols and what he would like to take from Dale Steyn.
CricketCountry (CC): Can you tell us where you come from and how you started playing cricket?
Kagiso Rabada (KR): I come from Johannesburg. I have played all my cricket there. I first started playing rugby and I was keen about it. I wasn’t that keen for cricket. My coach asked me to try it and I did. I found that I was decent and I just carried on playing from there. I had to sacrifice all other sports such as rugby when I was 15. I still love those sports.
CC: Was taking up fast bowling a natural choice or you did try your hand at other sports?
KR: I just watched Allan Donald bowl a ball and I saw he is quick. So, I went to bowl my first ball and actually threw it. I started off throwing, but eventually got my arm working. So I think Allan Donald deserves a lot of credit for that.
CC: You do not rush into your run-up, but generate good pace at the delivery point. What do you attribute that to?
KR: I think everything happens at the crease. Obviously, you have to have a stable run-up. I think what I doing at the crease is the right thing in terms of leg-drive and shoulder-drive. I think that is where I am most powerful.
CC: How much do you focus on movement? The dismissal of Damien Mortimer — it moved in a little and went through bat and pad.
KR: Normally I don’t move it in. I shape it away. But on that deck, even the Australian bowlers were getting it in. I think [of] getting it in the right area. One can go away, one can nip in. This wicket is a bit unpredictable, but you are looking to bowl at your spots.
CC: How effective is the short ball as a weapon for you? You hurried quite a few of them.
KR: I think the short ball is good [as a weapon] because it gets the batsman thinking. You don’t want to be one-dimensional and getting them to lunge at you. Even if you are a medium-pace bowler, you do bowl someone a bouncer. He will think it is going to come again. So, he is going to be a little bit tentative with his footwork. So, the bouncer is a good ball not only for the faster bowlers, but for medium pacers as well.
CC: Even later on with the lower-order batsmen in. Natural fast bowler’s instinct is to pitch it short?
KR: Yes. My coach Ray Jennings is quite tough. He tells me: If a bowler comes, try to hurt him! I think it is in my nature you know. I am aggressive, but I don’t want to hurt the guy because he is a bad guy. In the moment, it is hard to hold back. But, get the basics right and everything falls in place.
CC: You did say at the press conference that you look up to Dale Steyn. What aspect of his bowling would you like to imbibe?
KR: All the basic stuff. Line and length. Steyn’s [bowling] is about line and length. And he is quick! Very simple.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)