Former South Africa fast bowler Makhaya Ntini is looking forward to seeing pace aces Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada in combination, come October’s ODI series against Zimbabwe.
Steyn hasn’t played ODI cricket in almost two years. Rabada, meanwhile, has climbed to eighth position in the International Cricket Council’s rankings for ODI bowlers.
Rabada and Steyn haven’t partnered in the intermediate format of the international game since October 2016’s series against Australia. Their limited-overs partnership will be reunited next month, though.
‘The World Cup is just around the corner, next year, and the side at the moment is looking very good. It is really good to see Steyn is still in the limited-overs system,’ Ntini said during a SuperSport commentary stint on Monday.
‘Rabada is a senior in the current squad. He is the leader of the guys. He will be the one everyone is looking at to learn from.
‘The two of them being in the side makes a massive difference. It means there won’t be pressure on Rabada and there also won’t be any pressure on Steyn.’
The squad also features fast bowler Lungi Ngidi and wrist-spinners Tabraiz Shamsi and Imran Tahir. Seamer Chris Morris was overlooked, amid recovery from a back injury sustained during the Indian Premier League earlier this year.
‘If the opening pair doesn’t do well, then Ngidi and the spinners can be under pressure to bring things together. If Steyn and Rabada do well up front, even if they don’t take wickets, then the rest can follow through and do well,’ added Ntini.
The 41-year-old Ntini played 173 ODIs between 1998 and 2009, and was head coach of Zimbabwe for 24 months prior to January 2018’s exit.