Kagiso Rabada's involvement in first Test might have to be a leap of faith for Proteas

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  • Kagiso Rabada's involvement for the Proteas in the opening Test against England might have to boil down to a leap of faith. 
  • The bowling spearhead is essentially fit after injuring ankle ligaments, but there's concern about workload, with no clear answer evident.
  • But national coach Mark Boucher is confident Rabada's inexperienced teammates can stand up to the challenge at Lord's should he miss out.

It would seem that Kagiso Rabada's involvement in the first Test between the Proteas and England, starting at Lord's on Wednesday, might have to boil down to team management taking a leap of faith.

National coach Mark Boucher on Monday reiterated the standard response of the past few weeks that his bowling spearhead is essentially fit to play having participated in various net sessions, but doubts persist over whether a full bowling workload could put him over the edge.

Rabada missed the whole of South Africa's T20 assignments against the English and Irish after injuring ankle ligaments.

READ | Proteas selection conundrum for Lord's: Who makes the starting XI?

"He's come on well, I certainly hope he's [available for selection]," said Boucher.

"I suppose the one concern is his loads, but he's a great athlete so it seems his body has recovered nicely. He's not feeling too much pain and will have a final fitness test imminently to find out how he's going.

"I'm hoping he pulls through, he's a special player for us. Having him in our final XI will be special."

The curious phrasing of Rabada not experiencing "too much" discomfort does, however, suggest that the Proteas might simply have to go for broke or err on the side of caution.

Because, at least currently, there's no clear course of action.

Should Rabada not be available, South Africa will have a distinctly green-looking seam attack, with Lungi Ngidi boasting the most caps with 13.

The rest of Anrich Nortje, Marco Jansen, Lutho Sipamla and Glenton Stuurman boast a combined total of 22 between them.

Experience might be a shortcoming, but Boucher doesn't doubt their spirit.

"If those guys didn't have fight, they wouldn't be here. So yes, I do believe they can stop the English batting, that's what they've been selected for."

Such a potential situation would further bolster the inclusion of Simon Harmer, who's again been in fine form for his county Essex and boasts crucial, extensive experience of local conditions.

"Absolutely, do you think he comes into the equation," Boucher asked the journalist in question about his query.

When the individual replied, the Proteas coach coyly stated: "Well, there's your answer."

First ball will be bowled at 12:00.          


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