21 Days to the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup
South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada is in a fight for fitness as the Proteas seek to avoid an injury crisis before this summer’s ICC Cricket World Cup in England & Wales.
Fellow quick Anrich Nortjé was forced to withdraw from the squad on May 7 after a thumb fracture ruled him out of the tournament, and Rabada’s back injury prompted him to leave the Indian Premier League (IPL) prematurely, but updates from SA’s team doctor Mohammad Moosajee, and Rabada himself, are largely positive.
Moosajee spoke of the attentiveness with which their star bowler was being handled. “With KG, we are extra cautious because of two reasons,” he said.
“He had a back issue that kept him out of the game for a protracted amount of time. Secondly, there’s his importance in the squad, so we’re managing his rehab and his return to play very carefully.”
Rabada had a lumbar muscle strain with associated muscle spasms, but thankfully no surgery was required. Moosajee backed him to be available for SA’s first game against hosts England on May 30, but outlined their careful approach.
“We are confident, but we want to give him as much time to recover as possible,” he said.
“The anticipated recovery period for KG’s injury is two to three weeks and we are hopeful he’ll make a full recovery to be part of the World Cup squad.
The selectors have ensured they have enough options on the table but there are some players that have been earmarked as standby players.”
Rabada, who was leading wicket-taker in the league stage of the 2019 IPL – despite playing fewer games than his rivals due to the injury – posted an update on his Instagram, describing his return from the IPL as ‘precautionary’.
“IPL was really fun! Extremely glad for the opportunity,” he posted.
“Sad to leave but good to be home. Bittersweet. Regarding my back, I’m good – precautionary is all. Will be supporting the boys all the way.”
Moosajee also offered an update on Dale Steyn’s fitness. “Dale Steyn returned from the IPL due to his right shoulder flaring up,” he said.
“He consulted with an orthopaedic shoulder specialist in Cape Town.
“He has responded well to treatment and is showing signs of improvement.
“Scans done revealed nothing of significance compared to those done post his previous surgery. He is currently doing rehab and training, and following a very specific and progressive return-to-play programme.
“He will be reassessed when we reassemble this weekend for the Cricket World Cup camp.”