There was one moment during the Cricket South Africa awards proceedings where Kagiso Rabada seemed genuinely surprised. It was as the tunnel of pyrotechnics lit up, forming his path to the stage as he went to collect the evening’s top prize.
The Cricketer of the Year had completed the same walk five times before that one and seemed to take the record-breaking all in his stride. He was equally as composed as he faced the media scrum afterwards.
He might only be 21-years-old but the fast bowler, who has already shouldered plenty of responsibility in the Proteas setup, has made his presence felt. And in a short space of time.
“What does that mean? You’ll have to give me a definition of what it means to arrive in sport,” Rabada said afterwards when asked if he felt that he’s now arrived after also picking up the gongs for Test and One Day Cricketer of the Year as well as Player’s Player and Fan’s Player of the Year. He was also adjudged to have earned the Delivery of the Year laurel.
“Right now there’s going to be a lot more expectations obviously. I’ll have to find a way to deal with it and it will be another challenge. You have to overcome things, fears as well. It’s not just on the cricket field,” Rabada said of his achievement.
Having been one of the standout players during a tough period for the national side the fast bowler, who paid tribute to his family, coaches, peers and teammates, knows that he’s going to be expected to follow up.
“I’m going to try and do my best for the team and hopefully more performances can come. I’ll be trying my best. I can’t control whether I get wickets or not. I’ll try keep things simple,” he said before touching on his grounded approach to life.
“It’s just who I am. I feel like there’s more to life than cricket although it is a passion of mine. It’s a whole lot of role models as well. People who have done great things and are well respected and I’ve seen the ones who are quite reserved and they’ve done well too. I think I’ve always been like this. Maybe it’s the way I was brought up, it’s just the way I am.”
And his parting shot was good news for South African fans, not so much for opposition batting lineups though, with Rabada stating that he’s looking to raise the bar.
“You can only improve. I believe you need to try and keep improving because guys are constantly working hard around the circuit and they will overlap you,” he said.