Johannesburg: South Africa’s pace sensation Kagiso Rabada on Wednesday issued a warning to the Indians saying that they would go full throttle for a whitewash, after thoroughly outplaying them so far in the series.
The hosts are 2-0 up courtesy victories in Cape Town and Centurion and would head to Johannesburg with an aim for whitewashing the number one ranked Test team in the three-match series.
“Obviously we know how to play fast bowling and we’ve got respect for their attack. Every game you go into, you want to win. So obviously we want to get a whitewash against India,” said the bowler at a promotional event.
He said that the Indians are too reliant on their skipper Virat Kohli who produced a fine display of batting in Centurion, notching up 153 runs-the highest individual score in the series so far.
“I think they do rely on him. But it is just like we rely on a couple of players too. I’m not saying India don’t have any quality players, they do. But it’s just a fact – Kohli scores most of their runs.
“It is really enjoyable bowling to the likes of him. He was named ICC Player of the Year, so it’s quite cool to go up against the best,” said the pace bowler.
When asked about India’s preparation for the series, Rabada explained that they haven’t thought about it and that their main focus lies in devising ways to win the third Test.
“I don’t know what’s going on in their preparation. That’s not something we want to look at really.
“We’ve got no concern with their preparation. We’re concerned with how we want to get them out and how we want to win against them. I’m not going to diagnose their problems,” he said.
Having made his debut in 2014, Rabada has carved out a name for himself as one of the leading bowlers in international cricket and he had words of praise for the Indian bowling unit which performed well in the first two Tests.
“The fast bowlers are excited to bowl at the Wanderers. We always are as it has pace, bounce and swing. Bumrah is a very good bowler, he’s already opening the bowling now. He’s done very well with the one-day stuff and now he’s doing very well in the Test matches too.
“Mohammed Shami is very experienced and got some pace. Umesh Yadav, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar who caused a lot of trouble in Cape Town, they’ve got good fast bowlers,” said the youngster.
The Proteas convincingly won the first two Test matches by 72 and 135 runs respectively and have broken India’s winning streak of nine consecutive Test series victories.
Rabada however said that he hasn’t seen the pitch in Johannesburg yet and that he is not thinking about cricket at the moment.
“I haven’t seen the pitch yet. Cricket is off my mind now and the hard work starts again on Monday. Then we’ll have a look at the pitch. We know how the conditions behave here.
“India played really well the last time they were here, Kohli got a hundred. Wanderers is a good wicket, it’s normally a moving wicket. It’s a pitch where if you bat well you can score some runs, and if you bowl well you’ll take wickets,” added Rabada.
However despite the fact that South Africa have already won the series, Rabada reckons that playing against India is already a challenge, even when there is a huge difference in their overseas record since 2011 and their wonderful form in Test cricket from 2015-2017.
“Playing against the Indians is extremely challenging. They are known for their great batsmen and they’ve got really good bowlers as well. So they are very competitive, they’re throwing everything they have at us, and their batsmen want to make a statement.
“They’ve made a statement everywhere else in the world, and they wanted to come here and really beat us. So things are going to get a bit messy out there. But that’s just the nature of it, with two quality sides coming against each other. Off the field, we’re friends,” said the right-arm pacer.
He also added that it was team effort that helped them win in Centurion by 135 runs.
Said Rabada, “It’s nice to see youngsters step up – like Lungi Ngidi, he stepped up. Aiden Markram stepped up in the first innings. It was also nice to see Hashim Amla get some runs, AB de Villiers came in and played a very crucial knock in the second innings.
“He’s just got the ability to speed the game up and not get out at the same time. So he played very well, I thought that was a very key moment. And also the way Dean Elgar hung with him.”
The 22-year-old also revealed that South Africa wanted to bat as long as possible in Centurion.
“In the second innings, we just wanted to bat time, see how long we could go because we knew the pitch was only getting harder to bat on. There was a bit of variable bounce. The wicket was squatting a bit and some balls were bouncing, a bit more misbehaving.
“We knew reverse swing was going to be a tactic, and the short ball as well, because of the nature of the wicket. All in all, I thought our bowlers did a great job in containing the runs and bowling wicket-taking deliveries,” he elaborated.
He also highlighted that AB de Villiers’ knocks in both Cape And Centurion helped his team win the series 2-0.
“AB is a genius at his craft. It’s a fact. He stays in on difficult wickets, but he’s striking at 70 or 80 – he makes it look easy.
“He’s got a real understanding of the game, which a lot of people don’t get that easily. It looks very simple to him. He’s a very crucial player in our team,” he said.
Rabada also had words of praise for fellow paceman Lungisani Ngidi who made his debut in Centurion and wreaked havoc with the ball, scalping six wickets to help South Africa win the match.
“Lungi and I, we played together in the Under-19. We even toured India I remember, but he got injured unfortunately and his trip was cut short. But we played together at school and we have a history. So it’s just nice to play with your friend, from when you were a teenager.
“Hopefully long may it continue, and we can form a great partnership. I know he has enjoyed bowling with the likes of Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander as well,” he added.