Rabada to be used sparingly in Sri Lanka series

Proteas head coach Ottis Gibson says fast bowler Kagiso Rabada could be used sparingly during the two Test match series against Sri Lanka next month in an attempt to manage his workload ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup in the United Kingdom later this year.

Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada celebrates a wicket with teammates during day 4 of the third Test match against Pakistan at the Wanderers on 14 January 2019. Picture: @OfficialCSA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Proteas head coach Ottis Gibson says that fast bowler Kagiso Rabada could be used sparingly during the two-Test match series against Sri Lanka next month in an attempt to manage his workload ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup in the United Kingdom later this year.

By his own admission, Rabada had stated that it was the first time that he had been feeling tired since he made his international debut in the 2015/16 season.

The 23-year-old Rabada was struck down by an injury to his lower back after the fourth and final Test match against Australia last year and subsequently missed the Delhi Daredevil’s IPL campaign in 2018.

Rabada has yet to miss a Test match in the last two years and there have been growing concerns around his workload. Gibson conceded that the selectors may have to consider using Rabada on the odd occasion when the Sri Lankans visit our shores in the middle of February for two Test matches, five one-day internationals and three T20 internationals.

“KG says he is operating at 60%, but he is bowling at 145 so I am thinking what his numbers will be like when he is operating at 100%. But what we have done and what we will be looking to do is to find opportunities to rest a couple of guys. It is a little tricky now that Lungi Ngidi is out injured but we will look to rest KG for sure.”

Although Gibson is mulling the idea of resting his premier fast bowler who finished the 2018 calendar year as the highest wicket-taker in Test match cricket with 52 scalps, he says that Rabada is an integral part of his plans for the fast-approaching World Cup and insists that he will play some role in the Sri Lanka series.

“With the World Cup in mind we have tried to plan and play a certain way and KG is very important to that process, so he will have to play some part in the Sri Lanka series. It might not be every game, but he will certainly be involved. Even if he isn’t playing, he isn’t going to go to the beach somewhere in Cape Town, he will still be part of the team and strategising with us.”

South Africa now focus their attention to the limited overs format against Pakistan, with the first of three ODI’s on the 19th of January at St Georges Park in Port Elizabeth.