Kyle-Abbott-during-the-South-African-national-cricket-team-training
With the likes of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel and Philander being available for selection, Abbott has often found himself out of favour for a place in the final XI Getty Images

South African fast bowler Kyle Abbott knows a thing or two about what it feels like being unlucky. One of team s premier bowlers during the ICC World Cup 2015, Abbott was inexplicably left out of the semi-final against New Zealand. Vernon Philander, who was out of action for most part of the campaign, made an ineffective return in side s loss. The rest, is history. That has been the story of his career so far. With the likes of Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Philander and a new crop of fast-bowling all-rounders being available for selection, he has often found himself out of favour for a place in the final XI.

Recently, he returned to the playing XI in the fourth One-Day International (ODI) against Australia with his side already leading the series 3-0. He got a game since South Africa decided to rest three first-choice bowlers Steyn, Rabada and Imran Tahir for the dead rubber in Port Elizabeth and straightaway delivered a Man-of-the-Match performance. He took a four-wicket haul on his return, which was his first appearance for the side in four months. While talking to the reporters, Abbott shared how it becomes difficult when you don t know when you will next get a game.

“It’s tough not knowing when you are going to get a game,” he said. “The key is to still tick the boxes at practice and when those opportunities come, there is no time for questioning out there, ‘have I done the work’? Coming up against a quality batting line-up like Australia, you need to stay on top of your game even if you are not playing.”

He further said his team wants to continue with the momentum and become the first team to whitewash Australia in a five-match ODI series. “We can’t even begin to think what it might be like on Wednesday night if it does happen. It has been phenomenal,” he said. “We celebrated well on Wednesday night after winning the series and that was the big challenge today, to put in another performance knowing that the series was secured and not take our foot of the gas. We did that pretty well. Coming up to Wednesday, I don’t think we will do anything differently. We will stick to what we’ve done that’s won us four games and hopefully make it five and make some history.

Abbott, who recently moved from Dolphins to Warriors, said it was a challenge dealing with the wind at his new home ground. “Rhythm was difficult with the contrasting ends,” he said. “From the top end, running with the wind and downhill, you almost felt like you were going past your run-up and then from the other way, you struggled, sometimes not knowing whether you will get to the crease. It was quite a challenge. We trained for the last two days with the wind. We knew it was going to be like that.”