NEWS
10/01/2018 11:21 SAST | Updated 10/01/2018 11:21 SAST

5 Things That Make Kagiso Rabada A National Treasure 🇿🇦

South Africa's very own Kagiso Rabada has surged into the upper echelons of modern-day cricket – and here's why.

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South Africa's very own Kagiso Rabada has surged into the upper echelons of modern cricket. "KG" made not only himself but his whole country proud, when he was named the world's number-one test bowler on Tuesday.

Kagiso Rabada

His figures of 3/34 and 2/41 against India in the first Test saw our titanic talent crowned king of the world... of Test bowling.

South Africans will tell you that it was inevitable –– if you have any doubts about KG's talent or his status as a national treasure, here are five reasons why you're wrong:

1. History maker

Jason Cairnduff / Reuters

By clinching the world number-one spot, Rabada became only the seventh South African to top the ICC Test Bowling Rankings after Aubrey Faulkner, Hugh Tayfield, Peter Pollock, Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander. That's an impressive group to join, by anyone's standards.

Read: Proteas, Springboks Or Bafana Bafana -- Who's Actually Succeeding In Transformation For SA National Sports

He also made history in 2016, as the first player to win six individual accolades at the Cricket South Africa Awards –– Cricketer of the Year, Test Cricketer of the Year, ODI Cricketer of the Year, Players' Player of the Year, SA Fans' Player of the Year and Delivery of the Year.

It was a remarkable haul, and showed just how popular KG is among spectators, cricket pundits and his peers alike.

2. Mr Wickets

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Be very afraid, when you face Rabada...

Not only does he have a mean swing, but at the tender age of 22 (as of October 2017), KG had already taken more than 270 wickets in Test and first-class limited-overs matches. Exactly three years since his debut in November 2014, that was at a rate of over 90 a year, and he's added several more since then.

Within those stats, Rabada has seven Test fifers (taking five wickets in an innings), three 10-wicket hauls in Tests, and one ODI fifer, which is remarkable.

Read: Kagiso Rabada's Bowling Stats

Here are some of Rabada's best wickets:

3. Young, gifted and black

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As the world's number-one bowler at the age of 22, KG's a shining example of black excellence in a sport in which black players are still in the minority –– a quality that makes him even more special as an inspiring role model.

The fact that Cricket SA's main man –– and in terms of bowling, the ICC's main man –– is a black South African, is something to be hugely celebrated in a country with South Africa's racial history.

He's a great example to both justify and motivate CSA's drive to develop a diverse, colourful team that draws on the talents of all South Africans.

4. South Africans love him

Judging from the reactions to him at stadiums and the number of tweets and retweets praising Rabada following his ranking at number one, he's certainly a favourite among many South African cricket fans.

Here are some of the tweets giving a shout-out to KG:

5. He embarrasses patronising Aussies

Jason Cairnduff / Reuters

Perhaps the best reason to love KG is the way his very existence is a slap in the face to years of patronising "Western" stereotypes.

In November 2016, while Rabada was busy taking apart the Australian batting lineup to help the Proteas win the first test in Cape Town, one of the commentators wondered where he'd developed his amazing pace. Said former Australian captain and fellow commentator Ian Chappell: "You'd have to ask all the batsmen in his village."

The 75-year-old's condescending comment reeked of "mud huts" colonial attitudes, and he was roundly pilloried by South Africans of all races.

Social media was quick to point out that the "village' KG grew up in was a quaint little settlement called Johannesburg, where his brain-surgeon father and lawyer mother actually had indoor plumbing, electricity and lots more besides, and a lot of people around the world had their mental image of young, world-class African athletes forcefully recalibrated.

If the chance to leave egg all over an Australian cricket dinosaur's face isn't all the reason you need to call him a national treasure, we don't know what is.

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