There’s one player in the Proteas 15-man squad for the ICC World T20 next month who knows the feeling of lifting a trophy at a major world event.
But, as Kagiso Rabada points out, his success with the South African Under-19 side at the World Cup, as enjoyable as it was pales in comparison to the idea of claiming victory in the showpiece in India.
“It’s different. It’s a different level. Different players, a different type of pressure,” Rabada said when the squad was unveiled this week.
But there was one important lesson that the now 20-year-old fast bowler learnt during that successful period, on the back of his exploits, with the age-group national side.
“Belief. Believing that you can do it because the battle is already won if you believe. If you don’t believe the battle is lost,” he said.
And the fact that the selectors and Proteas management believe that the young man who has featured in eight T20 internationals to date is capable of providing a valuable service for his country in the World T20 is a massive boost.
“It’s a massive honour and privilege to be selected to represent your country. It means a lot especially on a World Cup stage. They’re obviously putting faith in myself and the other players.
“They believe that we’re the ones who can bring the cup home. It means volumes and I can’t really express it in words,” he said.
Rabada formed part of the T20 squads that were successful in Bangladesh and India last year and he feels that it will help when it comes to getting to grips with conditions.
“We’re not really too sure what type of wickets we’re going to get. The wickets might change and we’ve got the necessary experience and knowledge to pass down to the team to make sure that we adjust.”
Rabada’s star has continued to rise throughout both the Test and ongoing one-day international series against England and the spotlight has been firmly on his exploits which he admits has been a tad overwhelming.
“I must say it’s been tough to deal with it but I haven’t had a nervous breakdown,” he joked.
“But you have to deal with things like that. You look at the side of the road and see headlines “All Hail Kagiso” and you’re just like OK.
“Obviously now people have faith in you. They expect you to deliver but you have to be honest with yourself and realise where you are. Yes, I’ve done well. I celebrated those times and will celebrate them to this day but you have to look forward.”
Perhaps it is that forward thinking that could see the Proteas end up lifting the World T20 trophy after coming agonisingly close in 2014.