Proteas speedster Kagiso Rabada is fired up to face England in the World Cup opener on Thursday.
Rabada, who turns 24 on Saturday, had an injury scare before the World Cup. The mishap took place during the IPL, where he was pulled out of the tournament due to a back injury.
There were some concerns over his availability for the opening game, but he put those worries to rest when he took to the field on Friday in the Proteas’ warm-up fixture against Sri Lanka.
He did, however, admit that he was still finding his rhythm.
‘I felt a bit rusty, but it was good to get a run out in the middle and get a feel for things again,’ he said.
‘There’s no pain. I’m feeling alright, just rusty in terms of my bowling smoothness. But it’s all a work in progress.
‘That’s why we have warm-up games, so it’ll be a challenge for me to get ready before the tournament starts.
‘I’ve got my own cues I need to work on. I know that I just need to analyse what happened a bit against Sri Lanka and just work on a few things.
‘I’m not really thinking about it too much. It’s just a case of running in and focusing on my cues.’
The main focus for Rabada, however, is the opening game against England, a game he feels confident that the Proteas are equipped to win.
‘It’s great to play for South Africa again. It’s an honour to represent your country on such a big stage as the World Cup,’ he said.
‘England is going to be a stiff challenge, but an enjoyable one.
‘It’s crunch time – the first game of the World Cup and it’s going to go down in history.
‘They’re a strong team, with good batsmen and bowlers. Multiple players from our team have played against England, we’re familiar with them and that helps.
‘On the day, we have to rock up. With the quality they possess, we need to make sure we are on top.’
Rabada bowled seven overs against Sri Lanka and took 1-40.
Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images