Rabada relishes return to the site of World Cup glory

Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada is well rested and raring to go in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The paceman missed the 3TC exhibition match in July due to a family tragedy which means he will make his return to competitive cricket in Dubai with the Delhi Capitals.

Rabada relishes return to Dubai

It will be the first time Rabada has played in the UAE as a full professional with his previous visit coming when South Africa won the 2014 Under-19 World Cup. That tournament would propel Rabada onto the international stage, and he has barely had a moment’s peace since.

Rabada would make his full international debut just a few months later and he quickly established himself as the Proteas lead fast bowler.

“I’m excited to go back to Dubai for the IPL. I’ve not been since the 2014 Under-19 World Cup and I’ve always wanted to visit again,” Rabada told IOL.

The fast bowler says the rest and recuperation afforded by the lockdown and global shutdown of sporting events, has been appreciated but he is now eager to get back out on the park.

“I really, really enjoyed it. It’s been five years of non-stop cricket, so I loved being home. To be honest I was in no rush to get back. But we are also sportsmen, and we are always competitive and once you get back into it those juices flow naturally.”

Rabada has also spent far more time with his franchise set-up, training with the Lions after Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa rubber-stamped a return for small groups.

“It felt like I was coming out of an off-season although that felt new because I haven’t really had an off-season in the past,” he said.

The enforced break has also afforded Cricket South Africa’s High Performance programme the opportunity to analyse players and provide in-depth feedback through the Centre of Excellence.

Rabada is set to strap himself into a hi-tech suit which will isolate pressure points in his bowling action and hopefully help the seamer prolong his very promising career.

“They’re doing that analysis with all the bowlers around the country, everything is moving to (Artificial Intelligence) these days, with players and coaches using data to enhance their performances.

“I’m slowly getting back into it,” he said about his few weeks of bowling. “I’m feeling all right.”

It is almost IPL time

IPL teams will begin arriving in the UAE in the next week with training camps set to begin after a 14-day quarantine period.

The South Africans signed to the IPL, including the likes of Rabada, Faf du Plessis, Lungi Ngidi and Quinton de Kock are expected to miss some of the training camps but should be cleared to take part from the 19 September start.

The IPL will announce a new sponsor in the coming days after political tensions forced them to drop Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Vivo. 

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