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.
He might have landed in trouble for his on-field aggressive behaviour but South African speedster Kagiso Rabada says the perception that he is short-tempered is not true and it is just passion which drives him as a bowler. The 25-year-old 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 during an Instagram Live chat with his IPL franchise Delhi Capitals on Friday. “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.”
Rabada said he would have loved to bowl to former greats Sir Vivian Richards and Sachin Tendulkar among others.
“I think Kevin Pietersen, Sachin Tendulkar, Vivian Richards and Ricky Ponting would be the batsmen I would love to bowl to…” 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 workers. “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.