Proteas star Rabada hails WindiesThursday, June 17, 2021
GROS ISLET, South Africa (CMC) — Marquee South Africa seamer Kagiso Rabada has described the Caribbean as his “favourite” place to tour, after taking his first Test five-wicket haul in three years in the opening Test here last weekend.
The 26-year-old spearheaded the visitors' attack in the second innings, claiming five for 34 as West Indies crumbled for 162 to slump to an innings and 63-run defeat inside 2 ½ days on a lively track at the Daren Sammy National Stadium.
For Rabada, the Test was his first in the Caribbean, with South Africa having not toured the region in the longest format since the player made his international debut in 2015.
However, he was part of the South Africa squad which featured in the 2016 Tri-Nation Series involving Australia and hosts West Indies, with matches played in Guyana, St Kitts and Barbados.
And Rabada said he still harboured great memories from the month-long tour.
“My favourite memory of coming to the West Indies was being on a catamaran in Barbados,” Rabada laughed.
“That was probably one of my top memories. It kind of sucks that we're in the West Indies and have to be in a bubble — it's a phenomenal place.
“We played a Tri-Series in 2016…and it was a really good one-day competition. We had a strong team. All three teams had strong teams.
“But the West Indies is a phenomenal place to tour, probably my favourite.”
Rabada was forced to deal with flat pitches during the Tri-Nations and managed only seven wickets from six One-Day Internationals (ODI) at an average of 27.
However, he thrived on a responsive surface here, bowling superbly in both innings even though he nabbed only a single wicket in the first.
Rabada said he had expected a livelier track than what he had experienced on his previous tour of the Caribbean especially since it was a different version of the game.
“It was a one-day wicket [during the Tri-Nations]. This is a Test wicket so you can't really compare the two formats,” he pointed out.
“In one-day cricket you expect there to be scores of 300 average. This is Test match so they're probably going to leave more grass on it, and we're also bowling with a Duke ball and the Duke ball tends to do a little more than the Kookaburra because of the seam.
“So there's always something to think about for the batters.”
He continued: “I think it was a really good team performance, especially from the bowlers but it wasn't the easiest wicket to bat on and I think the guys applied themselves well.
“We spoke about it and we kind of knew what to expect after playing the two-day warm-up game here — [the ball] was moving around quite a bit.
“We've got so much potential in our team and in this Test match it came out and we're hoping for more of the same. It's happened in the last match and we're hoping for more of the same in the future.”
Though Rabada has been South Africa's leading fast bowler in recent years, his last five-wicket haul prior to the first Test here was his six for 54 against Australia in Port Elizabeth in 2018.
And he admitted to being “relieved” but stressed it was important to continue his wicket-taking form.
“The highest accolades in cricket you measure them by scoring big hundreds and taking 'five-fers and ten-fers', so it's something you always strive to do but unfortunately it hasn't happened for me in the recent years,” Rabada noted.
“But I'm glad it has happened. The only thing you can judge yourself on is being consistent in your preparation.
“I'm relieved. It's like scoring a hundred and who wouldn't be happy with scoring a hundred. I'm really glad with the performance I put in.”
The second Test starts here on Friday.
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