TELFORD VICE, Perth
FOR a young man in a hurry Kagiso Rabada has a lot of time to explain the how and why of running through the silkiest of bowling actions to blow batsmen away.
“I don’t see myself as leading the attack,” Rabada said on Monday when someone dared suggest that, with Dale Steyn and his fractured shoulder homeward bound, he was where the buck stopped.
And well they might have thought so, what with Rabada taking 5/92 to seal South Africa’s victory, by 177 runs, over Australia in the first test at the WACA.
“I know that I’ve got a job to do. Every player has a job to do and so does every other player in the team. So I just try and do my job.”
Simple, clear, direct, and surely not the whole answer?
“I sound like a stuck record, but I’ve got a responsibility to make sure I produce the goods for the country.
“You’ve got a job to do but there’s also passion. You do it for your teammates and for the people back home.
“Because no-one wants to lose, right?”
Right. Maybe it really is that straightforward. If, that is, you’re blessed with the body, talent, technique, skill, mental and physical fortitude and killer instinct that Rabada has by the boatload.
All of that, and more, shimmered in Perth’s radiant sunshine in one over from Rabada to Adam Voges in Australia’s second innings on Sunday.
The first ball hit Voges high on the pad, the second swung away and beat him, the third was unconvincingly defended to point, the fourth was full outside off and left, and the fifth moved away just enough to take the outside edge of a bat proffered like some burnt offering and fly into Quinton de Kock’s gloves.
“I enjoyed that over,” Rabada said. “It was a new batsman coming in, the ball was reversing nicely and I was feeling my best rhythm.
“Sometimes you’ll get a wicket exactly how you want it, and that was one of those times.”
Time. It’s precious, and at just 21 years old and only nine tests into his career he has a lot of it.