Kagiso Rabada’s introduction to international cricket has been as meteoric as they come with the South Africa pacer racing away to 176 Test wickets in just 37 appearances at a sensational average of 21.77.
The Proteas pacer created history at the start of 2018 when he became the youngest bowler (then 22) ever to ascend to the top of the ICC Test rankings. In the same year in July, he became the youngest Test bowler to complete 150 dismissals in the format.
Rabada’s displays have seen him earn the tag of the best young pacer in the business but the South Africa’s limelight has been stolen by the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Pat Cummins and Jofra Archer in recent times.
The three pacers had excellent campaigns in the 2019 World Cup where Rabada was slightly off-colour and they have followed up those displays in the Test format in recent weeks for their respective sides.
Rabada has expressed his own admiration for the trio of pacers but has warned them of the difficulties of maintaining their performances over a substantial length of time.
“I admire those bowlers, they are good bowlers,” Rabada told iol.co.za.
“However, the media hypes certain players, and that’s Ok, I know I have been playing very well. Archer is such a natural talent, Bumrah is doing wonders and that can force you to lift your game.
“You are not always at the top, that’s one thing I can tell you.”
Bumrah was sensational on his maiden tour of the Caribbean while Archer and Cummins have impressed with the red-ball in the ongoing Ashes in England. Rabada, though, is up for the challenge of proving himself as the very best despite the growing competition.
“It’s never easy maintaining a career, I’ve learned that there are a lot of ups and downs. I want to be the best in the world, everybody does,” he said.
“You are naturally going to compete in that fashion, I’m not too worried, I’m feeling nice and easy,” the South African added.
Rabada will now home to steal back the thunder from other pacers when South Africa’s tour of India gets underway this month. The Proteas are slated to take on India in three T20s followed by as many Tests on their tour which starts on September 15.
Afghanistan’s grip on the one-off Test against Bangladesh was further strengthened on Day Three at Chattogram with the visitors extending their second-innings lead to a mammoth 374 runs.
A chancy 87 from opener Ibrahim Zadran and the second half-century of the match for Asghar Afghan helped Afghanistan reach 237-8 in their second innings before stumps were drawn at Chattogram.
Earlier, a five-wicket haul for skipper Rashid Khan had seen Bangladesh bundled out for 205 runs in the morning session with Afghanistan seizing a sizeable 137-run first-innings lead. Their position was then further consolidated by Zadran and Afghan who shared a 108-run stand for the fourth wicket.
Afghanistan’s second innings with the bat got off to a horror start with Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan removing both openers in the very first over. Shakib removed Insanullah and first-innings centurion Rahmat Shah off consecutive deliveries to give the hosts an opening and their spirit were further buoyed when Nayeem Hasan sent back Hashmatullah Shahidi.
At 28-3, Afghanistan were in a precarious spot despite their first-innings advantage with Bangladesh’s spinners sniffing blood. However, Zadran and Afghan calmed the nerves for the visitors with a pivotal stand that put all the pressure back on Bangladesh.
18-year-old Zadran was looking good for a maiden ton but he perished on 87 ultimately after holing out to long-on off the bowling of Hasan. The youngster struck four sixes and six boundaries in his 208-ball stay at the crease.
A quick-fire cameo off 22 from skipper Rashid and an unbeaten 34 from wicketkeeper Afsar Zazai saw Afghanistan extend their second-innings tally late in the day before stumps were drawn.
Rashid and his men are now in the driving seat to notch up Afghanistan’s second Test victory in what is their third appearance in the format. They were beaten comprehensively by India in their maiden Test last year at Bengaluru before registering their first win against Ireland at Dehradun earlier this year.
Afghanistan: 342 and 237-8 (Second innings)
Ibrahim Zadran: 87
Asghar Afghan: 50
Shakib Al Hasan: 3-53
Bangladesh: 205 all out (First innings)
Mominul Haque: 52
Rashid Khan: 5-55
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has led the tributes for former leg-spinner Abdul Qadir who passed away in Lahore on Friday due to a cardiac arrest.
Qadir, who made 67 Test appearances for Pakistan, is considered as one of the most iconic spinners of the game and is credited with reviving the art of leg-spin bowling in the 1970s and 1980s.
The highly-respected spinner’s figures of 9-56 in 1987 against England remain the best-ever by any Pakistan bowler in a single Test innings. He achieved considerable success against the English over the course of his career and picked up a total of 70 wickets both home and away in seven Tests against the opponent in 1987.
The tributes and condolences have been pouring in for Qadir since his demise at the age of 63 with former Pakistan and India players both united in their appreciation for the leg-spin icon.
“Abdul Qadir was a genius, one of the greatest leg spinners of all time,” Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted.
Khan was Qadir’s team-mate and skipper for a significant chunk of the leg-spinner’s playing career.
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ— Sarfaraz Ahmed (@SarfarazA_54) September 6, 2019
Absolutely shocking news to hear the sad passing Legend Abdul Qadir saab. May Allah SWT grant him the highest rank in jannah and his family the patience to bare the loss. #Ameen
“And he was also the life of the dressing room entertaining the team with his wit & humour,” Khan added.
“Qadir’s bowling statistics do not do justice to his genius.
Remember playing against Abdul Qadir, one of the best spinners of his times. My heartfelt condolences to his family. RIP. pic.twitter.com/iu03d45sJ0— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) September 7, 2019
“Had he been playing cricket now with the modern DRS system, where batsmen can be given out on the front foot as well, Qadir would have gotten as many wickets as the great Shane Warne”.
Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar and India batting great Sachin Tendulkar took to social media to express their condolences for the leg-spinner as well.
Legendary leg spinner Abdul Qadir sb passed away. Just got this sad news. The revival of leg spin in cricket is completely credited to him. He inspired a generation of bowlers to take up leg spin.— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) September 6, 2019
Inna lillahi wa inna elaihi rajaoon.#AbdulQadir pic.twitter.com/mhBZy2yVk9
“Legendary leg spinner Abdul Qadir sb passed away. Just got this sad news. The revival of leg spin in cricket is completely credited to him,” Akhtar wrote.
“He inspired a generation of bowlers to take up leg spin,” Akhtar wrote.
“Remember playing against Abdul Qadir, one of the best spinners of his times. My heartfelt condolences to his family. RIP,” Tendulkar tweeted.
They called him the magician for many reasons but when he looked me in the eyes & told me I was going to play for Pakistan for the next 20 years, I believed him.A Magician, absolutely. A leg spinner & a trailblazer of his time. You will be missed Abdul Qadir but never forgotten— Wasim Akram (@wasimakramlive) September 6, 2019
Overall, Qadir picked up 236 and 132 wickets for Pakistan in the Test and ODI formats respectively with his final appearance coming in a clash against Sri Lanka at Sharjah in 1993.
The former leg-spinner is also credited with helping shape the rise of Pakistan spinners Mushtaq Ahmed and Danish Kaneria post his retirement.