Kagiso Rabada lashes out at Virat Kohli

South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada lashes out at at India captain Virat Kohli and said that he finds him “very immature” following an exchange between the two players during an Indian Premier League match, the 24-year-old said in an interview with ESPNCricinfo.

In Delhi, Rabada and Kohli exchanged words after the latter and his batting partner Parthiv Patel hit boundaries. Rabada shed light on the incident:

Rabada and Kohli exchanged words during an IPL game. Photo: BCCI

“I was just thinking about the game plan, really, but Virat, he hit me for a boundary and then he had a word,” Rabada said.

“And then when you give it back to him, he gets angry. I don’t get the guy. Maybe he does it because it gets him going, but that comes across as very immature for me. He is a phenomenal player but he can’t take the abuse.”

However Kagiso Rabada revealed that anger does not drive him on the field.

On Kohli’s on-field demeanour, Rabada said: “But later that evening, on the bus back to the hotel, I asked myself: ‘That guy [Kohli] always seems to be angry on the field. Is he really angry?’ Then I thought to myself what it would take for me to become really, really angry.”

“That is going to happen very few and far times in between. And becoming angry like that – is that what gets him to play well? I can’t psyche myself to be angry.”

Rabada has earned a few demerit points and has been involved in some heated verbal stoushes with opposition players.

However, Rabada said that being in the middle of a battle of supremacy between bat and ball brought the best out of him. “But those things can’t distract you. In fact, for me it just wakes me up, if anything,” Rabada said.

“If somebody comes at me and says, ‘I’m going to hit you. I’m going to clobber you. You are soft’, it wakes me up because – it’s a fight-or-flight response.

“You have to think about what you are going to do, because the wicket was good. All it was was a verbal fight. Something like that will not distract me. If anything, it is just going to wake me up to hit my areas a lot more consistently.”

Rabada came second behind Kohli for the ICC’s Player of the Year award for 2018, while talking about this he said, “That is a huge honour. Kohli undoubtedly deserves it. He has been phenomenal. He has been a pillar for Indian cricket over the past five years.”

It is not something that you play for, but if an award of that calibre comes your way, it is great. I feel very honoured to be talked about as the best cricketer in the world without the distinction of being a bowler or a batsman. It is not something that I always think about, but when I do think about it, it gives me goosebumps. At the end of the day I am worried about my craft, I am worried about improving, and I am worried about my team winning.

Rabada is widely regarded as one of the premier bowlers in the world. India play their World Cup opener against South Africa on June 5.

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