IPL 2017 February 20, 2017

'IPL will encourage Rabada to raise his game'

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Rabada, Cummins fill a vacuum in the bowling department - Daredevils CEO

International cricket will remain Kagiso Rabada's number one priority even after he secured a massive IPL deal, which has made him an overnight millionaire. The 21-year-old fast bowler was picked up for INR 5 crore (USD 750,000 approx) by Delhi Daredevils, an amount of almost ten million Rand, which may change his life financially but will not impact his focus for South Africa, at least not if his father has anything to do with it.

"I am happy for him and supportive of him reaching his goals. His future can't be summed up by bagging an IPL contract but more by longevity in the game at the highest possible level," Dr Mpho Rabada, Kagiso's father, told ESPNcricinfo. "His successful inclusion is one of the key significant milestones in his career. I think it will encourage him to raise his game and more importantly apply the skills in the national team. The national team is the pride and dream of KG [Rabada], thus remaining very important."

Rabada has already proved he is willing to put the national team first, after he opted not to enter the IPL auction last year and chose a county stint with Kent instead. "He came and spoke to me and Gordon Parsons (Lions' bowling coach) and we decided that the main thing he needed to focus on was improving his skills," Geoffrey Toyana, Rabada's coach at the Lions franchise said about the bowler's county stint last year. "And he knew it would be good preparation for the England tour that's coming up."

South Africa play four Tests against England in July, after the Champions Trophy, and Rabada saw last year as the ideal time to get experience in those conditions. He knew that aiming to play county cricket in England this year, immediately before the series, would probably not be possible because of a narrow time-frame. Despite interest from the IPL, Rabada decided he needed to put personal development first, certain the chance for an IPL deal would come in the near future. "He felt that he was not ready last year and we were supportive of the decision after deliberations but now it has finally happened," Rabada's father said.

Rabada's first IPL will follow immediately after South Africa's current tour to New Zealand, which concludes with three Tests in March, and will be cut short by preparations for the Champions Trophy. CSA is understood to be calling its players back on May 7. That means Rabada will have gone straight from a tour of Australia to a home series against Sri Lanka, to a visit to New Zealand, to the IPL and to England with precious little time off before beginning another summer. Rabada is only 21 and there will be fears of burnout, but Toyana believes he is strong.

"KG is an athlete. He has a good, clean bowling action and so far, touch wood, he has not had any injuries," Toyana said. "It will always be important for him to watch where he plays and how much he plays but I am not too worried about him. He knows himself and his body and he will know if it's becoming too much."

As for the money, no one is quite sure what Rabada will do with it yet. His love of fashion, music and a newly acquired driver's license may lead to speculation that the bowler could use at least some of it to spoil himself but Toyana has his doubts. "He is smart kid, so I'll say he will probably look at making some investments," he said. "I don't think he will spend it on anything silly and he has his dad as a mentor."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sam on February 21, 2017, 15:49 GMT

    When Rabada first came onto the international scene 18 months back he was already a brilliant limited overs' bowler. It took him some matches to work out his test game but in the last 10-12 limited overs games his bowling, especially that ability to hit the yorker, in the death overs at will has tapered off. If he regains it then he will be worth every penny and more.

  • adityagoel07 on February 21, 2017, 13:41 GMT

    When even the likes of Pidge, Mitch Johnson, Steyn were not spared in the IPL, who is Rabada? He will be taken to the cleaners.

  • Sagir on February 21, 2017, 6:02 GMT

    "That means Rabada will have gone straight from a tour of Australia to a home series against Sri Lanka, to a visit to New Zealand, to the IPL and to England with precious little time off before beginning another summer. Rabada is only 21 and there will be fears of burnout, but Toyana believes he is strong."

    Can someone please point this (and numerous incidents involving Australian, Indian and other South African players) to the journalists and players (usually English) that go on and on about how the hectic schedule contributed to losing matches.. i am really sick and tired of people offering schedule as a legitimate excuse. a top level athlete and performer should not be doing so, and if there are legit concerns about it, then raise with your own Board rather than using it as an excuse for poor or sub-par match performance.

  • Bazza on February 20, 2017, 21:50 GMT

    @odibestformofcricket... Do you actually read the story before making some ridiculous comment?? He delayed putting his name forward last year so he could concentrate on his development, which shows he has class and character and is confortable with his passion for the national team!

  • Sanjay on February 20, 2017, 18:34 GMT

    @blahblah1234567 : Agreed but my comments were tongue in cheek :) Talking of India, the BCCI does the national team no favours by blocking their players from gaining overseas experience. Thank heavens for the 'A' tours and the U19 tours.

  • blahblah1234567_9F5B2346-4AB1-446E-A1A0-77E2268CE43B on February 20, 2017, 16:50 GMT

    INSIDEHEDGE ON FEBRUARY 20, 2017, 16:13 GMT --- LOL, shouldn't they start awarding India for the IPL then. SA should be awarded for Jennings Roy KP etc. The thing is that international players help the counties, its not only one way benefit. Rankings shouldn't be based on anything other than performance.

  • suresh kumar on February 20, 2017, 16:48 GMT

    if he is willing to put international ahead of t20 league, why on earth he placed his in the bidding list? No one compelled him. i cannot able to bear these kind of talks coming around every time during ipl bidding. if someone not interested, just focus on what they are interested.

  • pietsk8810680 on February 20, 2017, 16:40 GMT

    Totally agree. I only hope that the other SA players coming through have the same passion as KG to play for their national team. That means we pick the strongest side. Really excited about SA cricket going forward. Qdk, ngidi, Rabada, Phehlukwayo, Bavuma, Maharaj, Shamzi, Markram, Pretorius, Mosehle, all still young and coming through.

  • Sanjay on February 20, 2017, 16:13 GMT

    You gotta hand it to the English counties for helping foreign players hone their skills for a tour to England! Future Test ranking criteria should award England extra points for a Test win at home based on how many players in the oppo have played recent county cricket.

    Oh and congrats to the young man on his IPL contract, he's defn one of the more exciting young fast bowlers on the circuit. Have noticed a couple of other SA quickies making an impression and debunking any thought of them being quota players. I expect Rabada to inspire many youngsters in SA.

  • hemantsj on February 20, 2017, 15:40 GMT

    Very pleased to hear Senior Rabada's comment. KG is a very fine athlete and fast bowler which World Cricket has hopes on for more stellar performances in future. Happy to see IPL get some of the international crickets like BS and KG remuneration which the soccer/nba/baseball stars have been getting. This will increase the player potential and in the long run the great game we all love.

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