Kagiso Rabada has a long season ahead of him after the New Zealand tour, with the IPL, the Champions Trophy, and a full England tour © Getty Images
So far on the South Africa tour, he has played two matches and missed two, skipping the T20 and second ODI in Christchurch, but is expected to line up in Hamilton as South Africa aim to wrap up the series. Doing so would allow them to rest Rabada for the final match in Auckland ahead of the three-Test series, which begins on March 8 in Dunedin. That is followed by the IPL, the Champions Trophy and a full tour of England.
A left knee niggle led to him sitting out the Christchurch match and he has bowled with it strapped during the tour. On his return in Wellington, he set the tone for South Africa with an immaculate new-ball spell and he insisted he is able to judge how his body is feeling.
“I feel like I’m the main person when it comes to judging how I feel, and truthfully as well,” he said. “Sometimes you play with niggles, sometimes you feel fresh, sometimes niggles come and then they go away, sometimes they stay for a bit longer.
“The longer that I’ve played the more I’ve learnt to manage myself, with the help of the medical team who give me advice, and I take it accordingly.”
He added that he understood the reasoning behind rotating quick bowlers. “Sometimes you have to put your ego aside,” he said.
After the match in Wellington, South Africa coach Russell Domingo admitted it was an ongoing challenge juggling the workload of all bowlers, not just Rabada.
“A lot of our bowlers need to be managed because of the number of games that get played,” he said. “It’s a fine line between resting players and trying to win series. Particularly for a young player like KG. He’s only 21, Andile is only 20 so those are two young bowlers who need a lot of management.
“But it’s hard to leave KG out of the next match, he’s a seriously good bowler and it’s no coincidence that when he’s back in the mix we look a different side. I’ll need to speak to the sport scientists, but we need to manage him carefully.”
In words that will be pleasing for Domingo to hear Paddy Upton, the former performance director for South Africa who is now coach at Rabada’s IPL franchise Delhi Daredevils, has said he has no intention of running the paceman into the ground.
“We try and help them not only to have a good IPL but to enhance and further their career,” he told South Africa’s Sunday Times. “The IPL is part of the 11-month season. We understand that.
“There are teams who try and get every cent and every moment of every day out of the players. If players aren’t managed well and cognisance isn’t taken of the whole year you end up with a burnt out player at the end of an IPL. So it doesn’t serve anyone.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo