Kagiso Rabada

Fast bowler

South Africa is well known as a cricketing country that produces quality fast bowlers. The recent successes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in Sri Lanka show the importance that pace has in the national setup.

And with 19-year-old firebrand Kagiso Rabada waiting in the wings, the future is continuing to look bright for the Proteas.

Rated as one of the fastest bowlers at the U-19 World Cup in Dubai earlier this year, Rabada used his pace and bounce to rack up the wickets as the South Africans went on the warpath to win the World Cup, the first any national cricket team from the country has won.

The 6 for 26 he took against Australia in the semi-finals were the best bowling figures of any bowler for the tournament.

Making his first-class debut for Gauteng in March this year, Rabada has taken 14 wickets in only four games at a Steyn-like average of 20.78. And while it might still be early days, many pundits are already envisioning him making his debut for the Proteas sooner rather than later.

He has been selected to tour with the South Africa A squad in Australia in July and August, which includes two four-day games against the hosts and a quadrangular series that includes India A and the National Performance Squad of Cricket Australia.

However, the St Stithians College star is biding his time and focussing on taking things slowly. His first love was rugby but thanks to his coach who asked him to try out for cricket in grade three, he has not looked back.

And like many fast bowlers, he is as relaxed off the pitch as he is fiery on it. Meanwhile, the cricketing world is waiting with bated breath to see this young bowler feature on the bigger scale, hurtling 140km/h deliveries at the opposition. — Iwan Pienaar