South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has said he would have been ready to play in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) if it had begun in March. Rabada, who missed South Africa’s tour of India which was eventually abandoned midway owing to the Coronavirus pandemic, said on Friday that ‘he would’ve been ready for the IPL in March.’ Also Read - German Court Lifts COVID-19 Lockdown Near Meat Plant
The 13th season of the IPL was scheduled to begin on March 29 but was indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis. “I would’ve been ready for the IPL in March. I had a tear in my groin, but I healed quite quickly, and believed I would have been able to play the IPL if it had started as scheduled,” Rabada said during an Instagram LIVE session with his franchise Delhi Capitals. Also Read - Odisha Lockdown Extension News: Complete Shutdown For 5 Days in Ganjam District From July 9
Having injured his groin earlier this year, Rabada was sidelined and did not take the flight to India for the high-profile series. Also Read - COVID-19: Sourav Ganguly Fan Club to Distribute Masks, Feed Poor on His Birthday
“It was something I was really looking forward to, especially after last season’s performance which was, no doubt, a huge motivator for all of us. It was also by far the most enjoyable season I’ve been part of,” Rabada added.
Having joined the franchise in 2017, Rabada was instrumental in taking Delhi to the IPL playoffs for the first time in seven years in 2019. The biggest highlight of their campaign was the Super Over win over Kolkata Knight Riders where Rabada defended 10 runs and nailed big-hitter Andre Russell with his brilliant execution of yorkers.
“I remember when I was bowling that Super Over… We had such a fantastic season but unfortunately couldn’t go all the way. Off the field, by far the most enjoyable IPL I had and I thoroughly enjoyed,” said Rabada, who was later ruled out because of an injury.
“It’s pity that IPL can’t happen because of a stupid virus. We hope the crowd continues to support us and we are there to entertain you guys… So it’s a fair exchange,” he concluded.
Shedding light over his aggressive on-field behaviour, the 25-year-old says the perception that he is short-tempered is not true and it is just passion which drives him as a bowler. Many-a-times his emotions have got the better of him and have landed him in trouble.
Rabada was suspended for the series-deciding final Test against England earlier this year after collecting a fourth demerit point in a 24-month period for celebrating too close to visiting captain Joe Root after claiming his wicket in the third Test.
“Lot of people feel like I’ve a short temper. I don’t think so, it’s just passion. Also if you look at sledging it’s part of the game. That’s what every fast bowler does,” Rabada said.
“There’s no fast bowler who is going to be nice to a batter. It’s not like you being personal and telling people about their family or whatever.”
Following Rabada’s suspension, South Africa went on to lose the final Test and concede the series 1-3.
The pacer had collected two of his previous demerit points during the 2018 Test series against Australia when he had screamed into David Warner’s face and brushed shoulders with Steve Smith.
The third incident was when he used provocative language in sending off India’s Shikhar Dhawan after dismissing him during an ODI in the same year.
Rabada was also banned for accumulation of demerit points during South Africa’s tour of England in 2017.
“You celebrate the wicket and after the game you are going to shake the guy’s hand and respect the craft. Most of the time, I’m not really aggro on the field. But that’s just International cricket. Every player wants to be the best. That’s just the drive coming out,” he said.
“As cricketers we have put in a lot of work under pressure, the grind to play for people’s entertainment and also for ourselves. It’s nice to see when you get results. You just don’t play a game of cricket. It does not work like that.”
The lynchpin of South African attack said it is his emotions which makes him a dangerous bowler.
“Sometimes, an emotion can ignite you. And that’s when I feel like I’m the most dangerous because that’s when I let everything loose and stop thinking and everything becomes automatic. That’s for me when I bowl my best is when I’m not thinking,” he said.
Having claimed the wicket of Virat Kohli as his maiden Test scalp in his debut at Mohali in 2015, Rabada went on to become the No 1 Test bowler in three years’ time.
“It feels surreal. You just keep hearing stats, you did this and that. It was pretty amazing but nothing changes. You still have another game to play,” he said.
“You don’t think about award when you play. You just perform your craft, the awards are byproducts and can serve as motivation as well.”