Kagiso Rabada Sri Lanka South Africa 2018
Kagiso Rabada © Getty Images (file photo)

With 38 wickets at 19.65, Kagiso Rabada, spearhead of the dangerous South African pace attack, is the leading wicket-taker in Tests in 2018. Unfortunately, his seemingly inexhaustible stamina took a toll on him, ruling him out of the 2018 Indian Premier League with a lower back injury. Now fit, Rabada, the top-rated bowler as per ICC Test rankings, is raring to have a go at Sri Lanka in the first Test at Galle, starting Thursday.

“I am feeling quite good, so far so good. We played a warm up game and all of the seamers bowled 12 overs. I have also been bowling some long spells in the nets, I bowled again today, so all is well. I am happy with where I am at the moment … A stress reaction is very common in bowlers, it shouldn’t hold me back,” he announced, as per a Cricket South Africa press release.

Rabada has never played in Sri Lanka. In fact, he had not played a Test in the subcontinent since his debut series in 2015-16, when South Africa were thrashed 0-3 in India. Rabada picked up 2 wickets from 3 Tests at 55.50. He is determined to make amends here, historically a graveyard for fast bowlers: “We are playing on the subcontinent, so it is generally harder for seamers. I have to play a role wherever I am playing in the world. The role we have to play here will be different to playing back home, I will try and fulfil the role.

“There isn’t much movement or bounce You have to get your wickets differently, and because there isn’t much pace, most of the wickets will be in front of the batter, not behind the batter.”

Rabada is 23, but has already been named South Africa Cricketer of the Year twice. However, he is now focused on the Sri Lanka series: “Past experiences can boost you and give you the extra belief. Coming here, the time is now, we are not in the past. I am focusing on what I can do now in this series.”