Bring on the banter, declares Rabada

19 October 2016

South Africa rising star Kagiso Rabada warns Australian chat could spark Proteas as war of words intensifies ahead of Tests

Proteas young gun Kagiso Rabada says he welcomes the on-field verbals that come with international cricket as the pre-series talk between Australia and South Africa ramps up ahead of the first Test in Perth.

By far the youngest and least experienced of South Africa's dangerous pace quintet for the three-Test tour, Rabada will nonetheless be a key pillar in the Proteas' push to win their third consecutive Test series on Australian soil.

And Aussie paceman Peter Siddle, who is set to miss at least the start of the series as he continues his comeback from injury, said this week that the home side may look to target the 21-year-old, who has just eight Test matches to his name.

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But having already played 12 limited-overs internationals against the Australians, who are known for their uncompromising approach on the field, Rabada says a fiery contest often brings the best out of him.

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"Everything I've heard is true," Rabada told earlier this year of Australia's reputation in the verbal stakes.

"We don't back down to anything. That's the way they want to play their cricket, but at the end of the day skill will win.

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"Sometimes you can be going through the motions until you're challenged, and then you wake up.

"But the key is to not be spontaneous, the key is to be like that from the start.

"But yeah, sometimes something can spark you and you become something else."

Rabada has been involved in a handful of minor on-field confrontations during his short international career to date; he had a running battle with England allrounder Ben Stokes during his maiden home Test series last summer, and also went toe-to-toe with Aussie opener David Warner during their T20 series earlier this year.

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And the right-armer says the Proteas will come just as hard as the Australians over the next month. 

"The boys are keen for it, but Australia are a very good team and nothing's going to come easy," he said. "International cricket is not easy at all.

"Australia are going to come hard, we're going to try and come hard. May the best man win."

Much of the build-up to the series has surrounded what will be said as much as the deeds with bat and ball, as the opening rounds of the traditional pre-summer shadow boxing commenced with South Africa's arrival in Adelaide.

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Skipper Faf du Plessis commented that the current Australian team has toned down their verbal approach in comparison to previous years, while injured star AB de Villiers this week rated the sledging in the 2014 Test series between the two sides as the worst he's ever received on a cricket field.

Former Australia captain Steve Waugh, whose highly-successful teams in the late 1990s and early 2000s were renowned for winning the mental battle against their opponents, expects no let-up in the on-field verbals this summer.

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And he says the Australians must lift their intensity after a "very flat" performance in their recent series loss in Sri Lanka earlier this year.

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"We just have to show some more intent and some more purpose, particularly in the field," Waugh told

"I thought we were very flat in Sri Lanka and didn't have the energy and the input that Steve Smith is looking for as captain. Everyone's got to take on that responsibility.

"You should be clever about your talk on the field and if you can put some doubts in the opposition player's mind by being clever, that's fine. And that's always happened, that's the way it is in Test cricket.

"That'll happen again, no doubt, when there’s passion and emotion.

"You're out there for six hours each day, it's a long time to be quiet. There's always going to be a bit of talk out there."

Meg Lanning Steve Smith

About the Writer


Martin Smith is a writer for He previously wrote for Yahoo!7 Sport and Fox Sports.

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