CAPE TOWN – Proteas assistant coach Enoch Nkwe believes Kagiso Rabada’s excellent performances thus far in the Indian Premier League are a result of the rest gained due to the Covid-19 enforced break.
Rabada has hit the ground running in the IPL and is among the leading wicket-takers during the early stages of the hugely-popular T20 tournament being staged in the United Arab Emirates this year.
The 25-year-old certainly seems rejuvenated after virtually limping through last summer’s international season, which was ultimately curtailed when Rabada missed the last ODI series against Australia with a groin injury.
“We’re really excited to see our players back again,” Nkwe said.
“That will certainly help them and us as well. It is important that the players make the most of their opportunities.
“Obviously the season is expected to be starting up soon and the more game-time they can get then the better it is for us.
“After such a heavy schedule leading up to the World Cup, someone like KG needed a break. He’s carried some niggles, which maybe is a sign of fatigue and he needed to step back.
“You’re always going to need a break when you’re competing at such a high intensity all the time.”
Nkwe went further by stating it was not only the physical demands of running in and bowling over after over that would have taken its toll on Rabada, but also the pressure of leading the attack across formats.
Kagiso Rabada today became the first player to take multiple wickets in 10 consecutive IPL innings.
2/21 v SRH today
3/26 v CSK
2/28 v KXIP
2/31 v RCB
2/37 v RR
2/23 v KXIP
2/38 v MI
4/22 v SRH
2/42 v KKR
4/21 v RCB#IPL2020
— Kausthub (@kaustats) September 29, 2020
Prior to Covid, Rabada had been on international treadmill non-stop since his debut five years ago with any meaningful break between seasons.
“You’re on the road and it’s not just the physical side of things, I think just mentally (taxing) as well.
“Just getting away from the game and doing something different and reconnecting with your own hobbies and just focussing on yourself is exactly what is needed sometimes,” Nkwe explained.
“That’s something I think we sometimes do take for granted.
“We saw in the latter part of the season how some players around the world were starting to get affected from a mental health point of view and that became very worrying.
“Players internationally compete for long periods of time, we’re talking 12 months a year for some, so there’s hardly any family time of time for themselves.
“I think this break – it was never planned – but it came at the right time.”
Rabada’s passion for music is well known and has focused on improving his DJ skills during the off-season, while also collaborating with his father on a CD.
He has also ploughed his energies into providing hampers for those in need during lockdown.