Rabada: Liberal environment has aided DC’s success

The Delhi Capitals fast bowler says only a team effort can help his team clinch the IPL title.

Kagiso Rabada bowls during Delhi's match against Mumbai in Abu Dhabi.   -  BCCI/Sportzpics

Despite having suffered a defeat in its last game, Delhi Capitals finds itself at the top of the points table after 10 matches, thanks largely to a very good start to the tournament. Current purple-cap holder Kagiso Rabada (21 wickets), with his wicket-taking and moderately economical spells, has been a big factor in this; he hasn’t gone wicketless in a single game this season.

The game against Kings XI Punjab marked Rabada’s sixth bowling innings with two or more wickets in his kitty.

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Rabada attributed his team’s success to a liberal environment and team effort. He said only a team effort can help his team win the title. In a virtual press conference on Thursday, he said, “It’s a very liberal environment in our team, it’s not a dictatorship, which has been one of the reasons we’ve been really successful. [Captain Shreyas Iyer] has many tools around him, and he’s used them well so far.”

“We have had seven different players who have won the Man of the Match awards, there are match-winners in our team – match-winners galore. It shows that all of us are hungry to win. Each and every bowler has bowled well, it’s just that I happen to have the purple cap, that’s it,” Rabada said.

‘Just a loss’

Rabada refused to label the anomalous defeat on Monday as a ‘wake-up call’ for his team.

“I don’t know if it’s a wake-up call. It’s just a loss, and losses do happen. It’s not about panicking and reinventing the wheel. We need to assess where we felt we went wrong, which we have done already. Bearing that in mind, we need to realise what good came out of the game. So you keep reinforcing what you’re doing well, not just focusing on the negatives. It’s about learning from the mistakes and making some minor adjustments,” he said.

The minor adjustments he refers to are present in his bowling as well, to suit the pitch, the batsman, and the scenario of the contest when he is bowling. But Rabada revealed his core game stays the same across games.

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“The line and length stay pretty much the same in all the conditions that you play in. If anything, you might want to adjust to maybe a bit on the fuller side. It depends on the conditions that you’re faced with on a particular day; you need to find the length that works on that particular wicket. To start off with, you’re going to your normal six-seven metre length, and in the backend, depending on whether the wickets are slowing down, whether there’s dew, see what adjustments you’re going to make, and the situation the game is under – what the game is asking for you to do, whether it’s to take wickets or to be a bit more defensive. Also, you bowl according to your field.

“It’s just about making adjustments but, at the start of the day, it’s all about sticking to good old-fashioned line and length, top of off.”

Fiery duo

Giving him good company in the bowling department is his compatriot Anrich Nortje, who is as fast as Rabada, if not faster. Nortje clocked 156kph during the contest against Rajasthan Royals last week; it was the fastest delivery ever bowled by a bowler in the IPL.

“It’s awesome bowling with him. He’s bowling really well; he’s got a lot of pace. He’s always willing to learn and open to new ideas, and I think that’s a great trait to have. Myself and Anrich are always giving our best for our team; that’s in our nature. At the end of the day, we have a job to do for our team and we’ve done it well so far. He’s come a long way, and he’s still got a long way to go,” Rabada said.

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Rabada’s performances have mirrored last season’s, when he took 25 wickets in 12 matches at an economy rate of 7.82. Yet, bowling in the tired pitches of the UAE has been a different experience.

“The conditions here have been quite tricky because we’re playing at the same venue but you play on fresh wickets, at certain times, and sometimes unused wickets, and they all play quite differently.

“I feel there is some seam movement sometimes, especially if you have a look at last night’s game in Abu Dhabi. The ball has been seaming around. But all the pitches have definitely slowed down, so it’s pretty similar to India, but it’s a different kind of slow. I feel the conditions of the UAE have something for everyone. You have to work hard for your wickets and runs.”

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