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Ken Borland

Rabada explodes on to international stage & wins fulsome praise from Donald

Posted on July 14, 2015 by Ken

Kagiso Rabada has made the most sensational start to a Proteas ODI career since Allan Donald exploded on to the international stage when South Africa returned to world cricket in Kolkata in November 1991, and the former national bowling coach says he believes the 20-year-old prodigy is only going to get better and better.

Due to Apartheid, Donald was already 25 years old when he took five for 29 against India, but Rabada claimed the world record for best figures on ODI debut with his six for 16, including a top-order hat-trick, against Bangladesh in Dhaka.

Donald became one of the greatest bowlers the world has seen, but began his career as a young tearaway with pace to burn, but who was often erratic in terms of control. Rabada’s greatest attribute seems to be his control, at good pace, which is extraordinary for one so young.

“His overall skill just blows me away and even his control is exceptional, it’s a bit freakish. I still think he’s going to get quicker and it stands him in good stead that he’s grooving that control for when the extra pace comes later. He’s already ahead of where he should be, his rhythm is good, he’s tall, athletic and can bowl a heavy ball, and when you combine all of that together, as he grows into his body he’s definitely going to get faster,” Donald told The Citizen at the launch of the Titans’ and Nashua’s Art of Fast Bowling Programme at the weekend.

Rabada came into the national squad last summer when Donald was still the bowling coach, and the spearhead of South Africa’s return to international cricket says the St Stithians product is an absolute pleasure to work with.

“You can just sit back and watch him, his action, ability, athleticism, I don’t have a bad thing to say about him. He has a wonderful work ethic which makes a coach’s job so much easier, he wants to compete so badly and he asks a lot of great questions, which you don’t normally get from a 20-year-old. I just loved him, he’s well-grounded and full of humility as well.

“And he has a natural action, there’s absolutely no need to interfere with that. It’s clean, uncomplicated and all in sync. Are we looking at a legend? I’m pretty sure we are,” Donald said.


2 to “Rabada explodes on to international stage & wins fulsome praise from Donald”

  1. ZCFOutkast says:

    Great article. But come on Ken…Apartheid or not Donalad wouldn’t have matched Rabada’s heroics at 20. Nonetheless it would’ve been nice if Lonwabo Tsotsobe, his senior at the Lions, was at the other end to guide Rabada. Like in Sri Lanka, these were ideal conditions for Tsotsobe to thrive considering that right now he’s by far our best ODI seamer in Asia. Kyle Abbott has left too much for Rabada to do, and Morkel has been very poor there of late. Well done to the young man. Expect great things from Kagiso Rabada. He’ll fill the pain we felt in the case of Mfuneko Ngam.

    • Ken says:

      Thank you.
      Actually Donald pretty much did match Rabada as a 20-year-old or vice-versa.
      In his 2nd season of first-class cricket, as a 20-year-old, in 1986/87, Donald took 47 wickets at an average of 23.74, including his career-best 8-37 against the Transvaal Mean Machine at the Wanderers. But as Donald himself points out, when he was 20 he was a tearaway, quicker than Rabada but without the control.
      What really sets Kagiso apart is his amazing control at such a young age, which is pretty much the point of the article.
      Unfortunately, I’m not sure if Tsotsobe is the best guy to be mentoring Kagiso … Much as I rate his skills, as you say very useful for the sub-continent, Tsotsobe simply does not play enough cricket these days.
      I’ve heard from people high up that even the most transformation-conscious people in SA cricket have lost patience with Lonwabo, which is a great pity.
      Kagiso was certainly our best paceman in Bangladesh and I definitely expect great things from him – as Donald himself said, a legend in the making!
      I really do hope he has much more luck than Mfuneko Ngam, a potentially brilliant bowler who had dreadful luck with injuries.

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