Fatigued Rabada 'comfortable' with being No 1

Kagiso Rabada (Gallo)
Kagiso Rabada (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Kagiso Rabada has had a series to remember. 

READ: Morne Morkel: The nice guy who finished first

Suspended for two Tests after his shoulder-bump with Australian captain Steve Smith in Port Elizabeth, Rabada then successfully appealed that sanction and was allowed to play in Cape Town and Johannesburg as the Proteas secured a famous 3-1 series win. 

After the second Test in PE, Rabada also became the No 1 ranked bowler in Test cricket. 

By the time he was done at the Wanderers, he had claimed 23 wickets over the four Tests at an average of just 19.26 and he was named man-of-the-series for his efforts. 

Still just 22, South African cricket has potentially its biggest asset in Rabada.

He is a team man, is level-leaded and, perhaps most importantly, he has a hunger to keep learning. 

Having grown up watching the Proteas struggle against Australia in times past, he has now been part of a South African side that has emerged victorious both home and away against their fiercest rivals. 

"I always enjoy a good contest and you’re not going to get anything less from Australia," Rabada said after South Africa's staggering 492-run win at the Wanderers in the fourth and final Test. 

"You’re playing against a big nation, no disrespect to any other nation at all, but playing against nations like Australia you really want to put your hand up in the tough situations.

"I’m glad things went my way this series. I put in the hard work and tried my best and I’m just glad it paid off."

Rabada, though, knows that he needs to manage himself carefully moving forward. He picked up a lower back strain during the Wanderers Test and "looked fatigued", according to captain Faf du Plessis. 

Moving forward, it is crucial that Proteas management finds a way to look after him. 

"Right now, I don’t have answers," Rabada acknowledged.

"It’s something that I have to think about. I have to have some time off and plan moving forward. It is very important because you ultimately want to play for 10 to 15 years and you have to have some sort of plan. You can’t just drift through it.

"It is a red flag. You want to prevent things like that. It’s one of the challenges that you are faced with as a player to make sure that everything goes as you would like it to go."

For now, though, Rabada is doing exactly what he set out to do when he made his Test debut against India in 2015.

"I wanted to be the best when I started playing the game. It’s one of the ambitions that you have as a player," he said.

"Now the rankings say that I’m there, but I have to keep doing what I do to see how long I can stay there." 

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