• Rabada’s ‘renewed focus’

    Bowling coach Charl Langeveldt is looking forward to the returning Kagiso Rabada’s ‘renewed focus’ during this month’s T20I series against Australia.

    Rabada was rested for the recent limited-overs series against England, but has returned to the squad alongside fellow fast bowler Anrich Nortje.

    ‘Renewed focus is a good thing with a bit of a break. A 24-year-old, who’s playing for his country, is always under pressure,’ said Langeveldt.

    ‘Hopefully he brings that pace as it’s always difficult to deal with at the back end of an innings. Hopefully he’ll bring the energy as well.’

    Rabada will relish challenging Australian batsman Steve Smith – and visa versa. The South African effectively shoulder-charged the Australian during the series in 2018, for which he was banned. The suspension was ultimately overturned, though.

    ‘Kagiso is competitive by nature, he is a wicket-taker. We’ll definitely make him use a few bumpers but it’s also about him controlling the aggression. I back him to find a balance, being aggressive with lines and lengths,’ added Langeveldt.

    Meanwhile, Smith is expecting a hostile reception from South African crowds.

    Smith and Warner are in the squads for the three T20Is and as many ODIs. The pair were banned for ball-tampering during that 2018 tour.

    READ: Du Plessis quits Test and T20I captaincy

    ‘They are hostile at the best of times here. It doesn’t bother me too much. I honestly don’t notice it, particularly when I am batting. I don’t really hear anything that’s going on and I block it all out,’ said Smith.

    ‘Maybe a little bit when I am fielding. But then again it’s just words, it doesn’t affect me. I think I will be doing some outfielding, so I’m looking forward to it. I will smile and laugh and play along and have fun.

    ‘Walking into the hotel in Sandton, initially I was like, last time I left here it wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t the best time in my life. But I’ve moved on from that and learned a lot over the last two years and I’m moving forward.’

    The first T20I will be played at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Friday.

    Photo: Gallo Images

    Post by