South Africa great Barry Richards feels seamer Kagiso Rabada’s rapid rise in international cricket will cover up for Dale Steyn’s absence in the upcoming Test series in England. Steyn has been ruled out of the four-Test series due to a persisting shoulder problem. The seamer has been out of action since the end of last year.
In Steyn’s absence, Rabada has delivered and filled the gap. The 22-year-old, since his debut against India in Mohali in November 2015, has taken 71 wickets in 17 Tests at a brilliant average of 23.69.
“I think a lot of people were really wobbly about Steyn and the injuries he’s had, the age group, he’s in,” Richards was quoted by AFP.
“Then Rabada popped out of the woodwork and he’s been absolutely fantastic. He bowls at a good pace, nice, easy action. If conditions are right, he’ll swing it way which is a real asset for a fast bowler,” added Richards.
“From a South African point of view, he’s been fantastic for us and really lessened the pain of Dale Steyn not being in the set-up.
“But I think our fast-bowling stocks are pretty good. (Chris) Morris as an all-rounder, and then (Morne) Morkel — he always looks like he should do well but he always bowls that yard too short for me, so even when his good ball beats the bat it goes over the stumps.”
Seamer Vernon Philander missed South Africa’s three-day warm-up against England Lions due to an ankle injury he suffered while playing for Sussex. Richards feels Philander’s injury is a worry.
“Vernon is a worry for us for this coming series because he’s been in and out of injury. He’s fantastic when he’s on song but he needs need to keep his pace above 128 kph (79.5 mph). If his pace falls below that, he doesn’t become as effective because it doesn’t nip as quick you can adjust. But it’s hard to bowl at 128 and above for 20 overs a day. If there’s a little bit in the wicket, he’s a major factor,” said Richards.