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Samuel David Laurence
 
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Kagiso Rabada: What is good for the goose, must be good for the gander

12 March 2018, 12:24

In the vastly complicated environment of South Africa where politics and sport are inextricably intertwined, there is a young man who in many ways represents the best of the post-isolation transformation of sport in our country.

The son of a surgeon and a lawyer, he did not learn his craft by bowling hand me down two piece balls in the dusty streets of a rural village (as some ill-informed commentators have mentioned) but in one of the best private schools in all of South Africa. Tall, handsome and with an action so athletic and aesthetic, it is as if Kagiso Rabada was engineered in a government laboratory whose sole purpose is to create the perfect fast bowler.

In a society where words such as black, quota, political interference and merit are spoken either in hushed, embarrassed tones or drunkenly shouted in seedy racist sports pubs, he represents a shining light of what can be achieved in this country when grass roots development of talent can take its course.

He is also and with alarming frequency proving himself to be a petulant, spoilt, ill-disciplined brat who not only deserves to be suspended but should suffer the humiliating indignity of watching his team lose the remaining games of a series that means more to South Africans than all others.

As David Warner was once again proving to the world what a bottom-draw bully everyone knows him to be, a couple of key aspects were missed. Perhaps the image of Faf Du Plessis in a towel distracted everyone's gaze from Rabada looming like a night club bouncer trying to approach and intimidate the 170 cm angry dwarf that is Warner, who at that time did not require the intervention of the opposing players as it was his own teammates who were restraining him.

By all accounts, Rabada is a lovely and polite young man off the field. To buy into this ugly, childish and unsportsmanlike behaviour whilst on the field is not only counterproductive to his team, his reputation and his brand, it is irresponsible. From swearing at Ben Stokes to replicating the worst of Warner on the field with physical contact, screaming and bullying tactics, Rabada has a long and unflattering history of the very behaviour we as South Africans deplore in our Australian counterparts.

South Africans have always openly discussed their disdain for Australian sporting teams, citing arrogance and aggression but perhaps omitting the fact that we so regularly lose to them in major sporting events. In the case of Rabada, it is as if the behaviour of our Australian opponents as well as what he as a player represents to all South African cricket fans both justifies his actions and makes us (and perhaps his teammates??) afraid to call him out on his appalling behaviour.

It was at approximately the same age of 22 when Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis sat down a young Abraham Benjamin De Villiers and told him in no uncertain terms that he could be one of the all-time greats if he would just stop acting like an insufferable showboat quickly falling in love with his own legend, and fulfill his talent and responsibilities to his team and his country. How he has played the game since has been a credit to the man and his teammates around him.

It is time that AB and the Protea's leadership group stop being frightened of offending our young diamond (and the public) and together (notably messirs Amla, Du Plessis and Philander) pull him into line and help him on his journey as not only a future all-time great, but as the role model to future generations of South African players and one of the symbols of successful transformation in our country.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

 

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