South Africa quick Kagiso Rabada might have been away from the limelight as fast-bowling contemporaries Jasprit Bumrah, Jofra Archer and Pat Cummins seemed to have grabbed all the headlines in recent times.
Since his Test debut in South Africa last year, Bumrah's ascent in red-ball cricket has been unrivalled, while England's Archer has carried his impressive run from the World Cup to the Ashes. Cummins, on the other hand, has been consistent for Australia and currently is the leading wicket-taker in the five-match series against England.
Meanwhile, Proteas premier strike bowler, Rabada, had a below-par World Cup by his standards and South Africa haven't played a Test since February. South Africa finishing seventh in the World Cup didn't help Rabada's case either.
However, the 24-year-old with 176 Test wickets at 21.77 and a strike-rate of 38.8 in 37 Tests is a bonafide star. The right-arm pacer, who already has 44 wickets from 23 games to his name, three more than Archer (18 matches) and two more than Bumrah (19 matches), across formats in 2019, doesn't want to read too much into the 'media hype'.
“I admire those bowlers, they are good bowlers. However the media hypes certain players, and that’s Ok, I know I have been playing very well. Archer is such a natural talent, Bumrah is doing wonders and that can force you to lift your game. You are not always at the top, that’s one thing I can tell you,” Rabada told iol.co.za.
Having been around on the international circuit for over five years, Rabada knows the nature of sport, and particularly cricket, where he is bound to have challenging times.
“It’s never easy maintaining a career, I’ve learned that there are a lot of ups and downs. I want to be the best in the world, everybody does. You are naturally going to compete in that fashion, I’m not too worried, I’m feeling nice and easy,” he said, while he also reflected on the 'disappointment' in England during the marquee 50-over tournament.
“I’m disappointed not angry (about the World Cup). What do I do with anger? When a setback comes you want to be determined, you don’t want to change a lot of things it’s about seeing where you went wrong and then putting in extra work.”
The next challenge that lies ahead for Rabada is South Africa's tour of India, where the Proteas are scheduled to play three T20Is and Tests. With country's leading wicket-taker Dale Steyn, now retired from Test cricket, it is Rabada, who will be at the forefront of South Africa's pace unit.