South Africa prodigy, Kagiso Rabada spoke to us about his sharp rise to the top, his faith and his stand-out cricketing moments so far.
So KG, was professional cricket always the dream for you?
I always wanted to play in international sport, at the highest level. I guess cricket was the sport where I had the most potential but I had ambitions to achieve in all of the sports that I competed in.
Fresh off the back of your Australia whitewash, how proud are you all of the achievement?
well obviously we have made history, we have never beaten Australia five nil and it was great to do it on our own turf against a pretty solid team. They are the world champions in the one day international format so it was nice to beat them. There has always been a tense rivalry between us so for me, especially as a youngster in my first series, actually to beat them makes me very proud. We celebrated very well.
How did you come to know God on a personal level?
Well everyone in my family is a Christian so I grew up with God being known as a pillar of life, so I was raised into my faith. However, when you are reading the bible you also need to understand it and I guess when you are young you can just read for the sake of reading until you mature and then you actually start to realise the importance and relevance of it. So for me it wasn’t something that I easily accepted because I had a lot of questions.
What has God been teaching you in your fledgling career so far?
Well you learn character, which is the most important thing, you also learn how to deal with different types of situation and it gives you clarity. Character is basically what makes you who you are and the bible has got all of the qualities you need and has all of the answers. Once you have those and you have clarity, that is when you can make the best decisions. That is when you are at peace.
You burst onto the test scene against England, at home in South Africa, is that your proudest moment to date?
It is kind of weird because against England I did very well on a personal level, however we lost the series 2-1. Then recently against Australia I had a below-average series but the team made an amazing achievement. So I would say Australia because the team definitely comes first but on the selfish side of things I would say England so far. Outside of those two for me, was when we beat India in India for the first time. We haven’t beaten them in a one day series ever, so we made history there and I was apart of that series. They are my main highlights.
Is it difficult to live out your faith in such a high-profile position as a pro cricketer?
I am not a perfect human being, I wouldn’t say that I am the most ‘religious’ person and it does say in the bible to just come as you are. I think I am still learning as we speak and maturing which will come over the next few years. I don’t really worry about what other people think because the bible is my aid, God helps me along with my parents and those that I trust around me.
Is it tough to figure out your identity, who you are in Christ, when your life is so hectic already?
For me, on the field playing cricket is what I have always wanted to do from a young age. However at the same time I have started getting very philosophical off the field because you are forced to mature quickly with the responsibility that is put on you. You can’t mess around with friends like a young adult would do, there still is time for fun in life however there is need to make some serious decisions and to find your purpose.
You have some other strong Christians in the dressing room, do you all connect and encourage one another?
We have a bible group on Whatsapp, we try to get together but end up going on many different tours. Wherever we are on tour we will look for a local church, one of our group could recommend a service or a get-together and if you want to join you can do. It’s hard for it to happen at home because everyone has their respective provinces, so we do a lot of our connecting on tour. We try to come together as a group and open up about where we are in Christ.
We have to ask you about your time with Kent, enjoy your first domestic stint in England?
Yes definitely, I wanted to go out to England, see what was happening and to learn how they play their cricket. I really did enjoy it, there were quality times and a lot of quality people, I met some friends, Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sam Billings. I still chat to the guys to this point and it was a great stint for me, hopefully I will be back there soon.
So is a return is on the cards?
Yes definitely, I can’t rule that one out. I think there is a high chance of me going back to England to play.