T20 World Cup

Proteas baggage? Rabada not interested as T20 World Cup opportunity nears

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Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada
Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada
Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images
  • Proteas speedster Kagiso Rabada is not interested in discussing South Africa's poor history at major ICC events.
  • South Africa have never contested a World Cup final in T20 or 50-over cricket. 
  • The Proteas are in the UAE ahead of this year's T20 World Cup.

South African cricket's struggles at major ICC events are well-documented, but Proteas speedster Kagiso Rabada is not wasting time thinking about any of that as the T20 World Cup takes centre stage this week. 

The Proteas are currently in the UAE preparing for their tournament opener against Australia on Saturday and, compared to previous World Cups in both the 50-over and T20 formats, very few critics are expecting the Temba Bavuma-led South Africans to make a charge this time around. 

South Africa is pooled alongside Australia, England and the West Indies while two further qualifiers will join Group 1. With only the top two sides qualifying for the semi-finals, the Proteas will have to play at an extremely high level if they are to make a play. 

No Proteas men's side has ever contested a World Cup final in either white ball formats, and there has been some heartache along the way. 

From Lance Klusener and Alan Donald in 1999 all the way through to the semi-final heartache of Auckland 2015, the Proteas have the unwanted reputation of being a side that has historically failed to deliver on the stages that matter most. 

Rabada, though, does not believe it is helpful to go down that road of thought. 

"I don't even like talking about that or the baggage," Rabada said.

"What's in the past is in the past. We have a challenge that is in front of us.

"Nobody in the past has tried to lose games, so we're coming in with the same mentality.

"Whether we have baggage or not? I just think it's not even worth talking about. It's about playing.

"The mood is great and it's nice to be around some positivity and coming into a positive environment.

"The guys are in a good space."

Despite the Proteas' history at World Cups, Rabada does know what it is like to win international trophies and he was part of the SA side that won every match of that year's U-19 World Cup, which was also played in the UAE.  

"There are obviously a lot of memories from the U-19 World Cup and it would be great to replicate that with the senior team," Rabada said. 

"It would be extremely special. It would be my biggest life achievement in sport. It would be one of our highest achievements in cricket, and that's really what's missing. We hope we're the generation that can do that."

While the Proteas will be expected to field a spin-heavy bowling attack, Rabada will always be a key figure. The good news is that he has just come out of the IPL, where he took 15 wickets in 15 matches for the Delhi Capitals. 

"I've been playing, so I don't think I need to do too much more. I think it's just about locking in and executing gameplans," he said. 

"The confidence levels are there. We've been rebuilding as a team and, so far, it's going according to plan. It's about taking this on as a new challenge and everything that is in the past is in the past.

"We know that of we apply ourselves and play well, we can beat anyone on the day. Now it's just about taking it one step at a time."

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