Barry Richards admires Kagiso Rabada’s ability to fill the vacancy left by Dale Steyn’s absence in the Proteas side.
The 22-year-old has been in great form and has been a focal point of South Africa’s bowling attack.
Talking to the media at a sponsored press conference on day one of the warm-up match between the Proteas and the England Lions, Richards was complimentary of Rabada’s recent step-up to the Test squad.
‘I think a lot of people were really wobbly about Steyn and the injuries he’s had, the age group, he’s in,’ Richards told the media in London on Thursday.
‘Then Rabada popped out of the woodwork and he’s been absolutely fantastic. He bowls at a good pace, nice, easy action. If conditions are right, he’ll swing it away, which is a real asset for a fast bowler,’ added Richards.
‘From a South African point of view, he’s been fantastic for us and really lessened the pain of Dale Steyn not being in the set-up.
‘But I think our fast-bowling stocks are pretty good. [Chris] Morris as an all-rounder, and then [Morne] Morkel – he always looks like he should do well, but he always bowls that yard too short for me, so even when his good ball beats the bat it goes over the stumps.’
Richards also touched on the injury of Vernon Philander, after he picked up an injury for Sussex in their County Championship clash against Worcestershire. As a result, the 32-year-old sat out of day one of the Proteas’ warm-up match against the English Lions, which kicked off on Thursday.
‘Vernon is a worry for us for this coming series because he’s been in and out of injury.
‘He’s fantastic when he’s on song, but he needs to keep his pace above 128 km/h. If his pace falls below that, he doesn’t become as effective because it doesn’t nip as quick you can adjust. But it’s hard to bowl at 128 and above for 20 overs a day.
‘If there’s a little bit in the wicket, he’s a major factor.’
The 71-year-old played four Tests and hit two centuries and two fifties. He’s also played 339 first-class matches and racked up 28, 358 runs @ 54, 74, which included 28 centuries and 152 half-centuries.
The South African batting legend also made comments on AB de Villiers’ captaincy and the Proteas batting lineup.
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