Rabada: Proteas must move past off-field issues

Kagiso Rabada (Getty)
Kagiso Rabada (Getty)

Southampton - They may be winless at the 2019 Cricket World Cup after three matches, but the Proteas will be keen to get back on the field on Monday given the weekend they have had. 

As if the poor results weren't enough of a concern, the AB de Villiers media bombshell that hit on Thursday has left the Proteas leadership group reeling. 

On Saturday, coach Ottis Gibson spent the first 10 minutes of his press conference answering De Villiers questions. 

Given the South African top order's struggles in England and De Villiers' obvious ability, the decision from CSA to deny his last-minute request to go to the World Cup has caused a storm from back home. 

In addition, the Proteas have had numerous injury worries on their trip, with Lungi Ngidi currently nursing a hamstring strain while Dale Steyn was ruled out of the tournament on Tuesday. 

When you throw everything together, it is difficult to imagine how this World Cup could have gone worse from a South African perspective. 

There is no room left for error, and any run at a semi-final place must start with victory over a dangerous West Indies side at the Rose Bowl on Monday. 

The positives are few and far between, but one of them is that Kagiso Rabada finally began showing signs of his best in Wednesday's 6 wicket loss to India.

The 24-year-old finished with figures of 2/39 from his 10 overs, but they did not tell the full story of how well he bowled on a day where he could have easily claimed a couple more wickets had luck been on his side. 

With Ngidi and Steyn out, Rabada's already crucial role in this Proteas side has become even more important during what is his first ever World Cup.

"There has been a lot happening off the field, so it's a bit of a weird stage for the Proteas and CSA," Rabada acknowledged on Sunday.

"We have to deal with what we have. There is no point complaining about it.

"Unfortunately, we've had quite a few problems in this tournament with injuries and we've had to work our way around it.

"We just need a few things to click and we are working our way around it. We're looking to turn it around tomorrow."

Rabada said that there was a collective effort from the squad to put the off-field issues to one side and work around them.

He is keeping a positive outlook despite the results.

"It's been enjoyable. The tournament has been well run and playing against the world's best is exciting. It's what you want," he said.

"It has come with its challenges in terms of our team, but the journey continues.

"We've got a stiff challenge ahead of us but we're ready to stand up to it ... we're very hopeful."

Play on Monday starts at 11:30 (SA time). 

@LloydBurnard is in England covering the 2019 Cricket World Cup for Sport24 ...  

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