“I am not one to make any excuses – I wasn’t up to scratch, I had a disappointing tournament,” he said ahead of South Africa’s departure for their three-match Test series in Australia. “I didn’t feel that great in terms of energy. I still tried my best but I felt like the harder I tried, it just wasn’t coming out.
“You can feel it in the intensity of your play. Your intensity is not where you want it to be, and it catches up with you over time. Playing international cricket, you want to be rather high-intensity more often than not.”
Asked if he was worried about the volume of cricket he has played, Rabada replied in the affirmative. “It is a concern with the amount of cricket that’s being played. It needs to be managed,” he said. “There need to be plans to be made accordingly.”
CSA’s director of cricket Enoch Nkwe has held one-on-one meetings with the T20 World Cup playing group, and is expected to prepare a comprehensive report on the team’s failure to get out of the group stage and plot the way forward. One of the aspects of that report could well be about Rabada’s recent T20I form, as his overall performance across major tournaments also comes under the spotlight.
“If it’s happened twice [after the group-stage exit in 2021 too], it’s something that seriously needs to be considered,” Rabada said. “That’s what I have realised, and [the] management have realised as well. We need to come up with some plans – not just for me, but for all players.”
“As much as the nerves and passion comes in, it’s a game of cricket. It’s not as intimidating as people make it out to be”
Rabada doesn’t want his side to be overawed against Australia
“When you are playing a quality opposition, it can get the best out of you. It’s about letting it happen,” he said. “With me, it’s always come out against Australia. It’s about not backing down to a challenge. If they want to come hard, you stand up to it. That’s what competition is.”
But his message to the rest of his pack is not to get overawed. “It’s a game of cricket. As much as the nerves and passion comes in – which is incredibly important – it’s a game of cricket,” he said. “It’s not as intimidating as people make it out to be. It can sound much more intimidating than it actually is.”
“In Australia, you get some bounce. They are good wickets, but you generally get a bit of nip,” he said. “It can swing at times, but not too much. The bounce and the pace is your ally. But at the same time, they are good wickets to bat on because the bounce is so true. I am excited to play some cricket, and to test myself.”
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