IND vs SA: Rabada wants a long partnership with old friend Lungi

Asked about joining forces with the new pace sensation Ngidi, Rabada said, “Yes, Lungi and I played together at school and at the under-19 level. We even toured India, but he got injured unfortunately and his trip was cut short. We have a history.”

Despite the 2-0 score-line, Rabada said playing India was challenging.   -  AFP

These are heady days for Kagiso Rabada. Ranked No. 1 bowler in the ICC Test ranking, he has been busy scalp-hunting in the series.

The 22-year-old fast bowler with 114 wickets in just 25 Tests is relishing bowling for South Africa with his former U-19 team-mate Lungi Ngidi.

Asked about joining forces with the new pace sensation Ngidi, Rabada said, “Yes, Lungi and I played together at school and at the under-19 level. We even toured India, but he got injured unfortunately and his trip was cut short. We have a history.”

Rabada added, “It’s just nice to play with your friend from when you were a teenager. So hopefully may it continue for long so that we can form a great partnership.”

Despite the 2-0 score-line, Rabada said playing India was challenging. “They have been very competitive, throwing everything they have at us.”

Sparks were bound to fly, he felt. “So, things are going to get a bit messy out there. But that’s just the nature of it with two quality sides coming against each other. But off the field, we’re friends. It’s always enjoyable bowling to the likes of Virat Kohli.”

On AB de Villiers and his habit of producing game-changing innings, Rabada said, “AB is a genius at his craft. It’s a fact. He stays in on difficult wickets, but he’s striking at 70 or 80… He makes it look easy. He’s got a real understanding of the game, which a lot of people don’t get that easily.”

Dwelling on the pitch for the third Test at the Wanderers, he said, “You’re sort of never really ‘in’ on that pitch. We are excited to bowl at the Wanderers, pace and bounce and swing.”

Rabada wants a 3-0 series verdict. “Every game you go into, you want to win. So obviously we want a clean sweep.”

Queried whether India relied too much on Kohli, he replied, “I think they do rely on him, just like we rely on a couple of players. It’s just a fact, he scores most of their runs.”

The South African said India had depth in its pace ranks and added, “Bumrah is a very good bowler. Mohammed Shami is experienced and has got some pace. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who caused us a lot of trouble in Cape Town, Umesh Yadav… they’ve got good fast bowlers.”

Talking about players emerging from the under-19 World Cup, he said, “I think in every generation you have a few players who get in when they are very young, just on their talent. When you have the X-factor when you’re young, you’re going to get fast-tracked.”

  Dugout videos