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Luke Alfred: Kagiso Rabada is South African Cricket’s Poster Boy in an Untenable Situation

When the Lions Came to TownThe Art of LosingLuke Alfred, sports journalist and author of When the Lions Came to Town: The 1974 Rugby Tour to South Africa and The Art of Losing: Why the Proteas Choke at the Cricket World Cup, recently wrote an article for ESPN Cricinfo about Kagiso Rabada and what his success signifies about South African cricket.

In the article, Alfred writes about the early days of Rabada’s cricket career at St Stithians College, and his entry into higher leagues from there. He goes on to speak about the problems in South African cricket, which he says make it “like a poorly nailed-together tree house in a Highveld thunderstorm”. He believes Rabada is a talented “poster boy” who is helping to “patch over the widening cracks” in the rickety structure.

Read the article:

When Kagiso Rabada arrived at St Stithians College in northern Johannesburg, he was a flash left-hander with every shot in the book. “He reminded us a little of Brian Lara,” said Wim Jansen, the school’s director of cricket. “He was pretty flamboyant when he joined the school in Grade 8.”

As a bowler, Rabada was wild. With his willowy frame and liquid slide to the crease, he could always bowl fast, but he was cavalier in his preparation and struggled with no-balls. Jansen said the school’s coaches forced him to measure out his run to the centimetre, and before long he was deep into the subtle arts of composing an over.

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