Kagiso Rabada as skipper? Solidarity Cup provides an intriguing opportunity

Kagiso Rabada (Getty)
Kagiso Rabada (Getty)
  • He's been the spearhead of the Proteas attack for some time, yet Kagiso Rabada's suitability as a captain has never really been seriously discussed previously.
  • The 25-year-old quick's role as the Kingfishers' captain in CSA's Solidarity Cup could thus provide some very interesting insights in terms of his leadership abilities.
  • Rabada himself is coy over his role, but is nonetheless keen to stamp his authority on some tactics. 

Kagiso Rabada has been the leader of the Proteas attack for the best part of four years, but his more generic leadership credentials have never really been discussed.

That's why his appointment as the Kingfishers' captain for Cricket South Africa's 3 Team Cricket Solidarity Cup at the end of the month is rather intriguing.

The 25-year-old quick, still ranked fifth in the ICC Test bowlers rankings despite a tough international season, has certainly influenced that dynamic by consistently steering away from talk in that regard.

In fact, Rabada is a man of few words when he talks in public, though there have been enough glimpses in the past of some keen insights.

He's even coy about his role at SuperSport Park in Centurion on June 27.

"I guess we'll find out," Rabada said with a chuckle after he was asked what his style of captaincy might entail.

"I think it will help having a few guys around with experience (Faf du Plessis, Heinrich Klaasen) from who you can learn. I think I'll have (a unique) sense of how this new format will work, much like everyone else's sense will be different. I guess since I'll be the captain, I'll try to lead the team according to how I see things."

In other words - even though all 24 players involved on the day start on a blank page in terms of learning the subtleties of 3TC - Rabada certainly wants to stamp his own authority on tactics that need to be used.

And that's no bad thing, South African cricket can benefit from getting some indication as to how Rabada tries to out-think teams instead of just the world's best batsmen.

But it also won't be a one-man show.

"You don't want to limit anyone," said Rabada.

"I'll be very open to how my teammates want to play and give them some freedom too because they also know what they're doing. Strategies are a collective thing.

"When it comes to leadership for me, it's really just about getting the best out of everyone. I want them to perform at their peak."

On-field shepherding won't be the only thing Rabada will have to get used to, but also curbing his (in)famous wicket celebrations.

Thankfully it won't be because of authorities keeping an eye on him, rather because of social distancing protocols.

"Yeah, how we're going to have to avoid high fives and stuff isn't really something I've given much thought to yet. We'll see when we get there," he said.

"We have to apply social distancing, so maybe virtual high fives ... or one from a few metres away. I don't know. We'll come up with something."

- Compiled by Heinz Schenk

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