Even at 21, Kagiso Rabada is recognised as a special South African – and he took that distinction to another level at the Indian Premier League player auction in Bangalore yesterday.
After a bidding war with Kings XI Punjab‚ Delhi Daredevils snapped up Rabada’s services for the equivalent of R9.8-million.
That made the fast bowler the only South African among the eight on sale to land a deal for this year’s tournament – despite Imran Tahir‚ the world’s top-ranked white-ball bowler‚ being in the mix.
Other current South African internationals who went unsold were Farhaan Behardien‚ Wayne Parnell‚ Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwayne Pretorius. Kyle Abbott was also rejected. The retained Quinton de Kock‚ JP Duminy and Chris Morris are also at Delhi‚ who are coached by another South African‚ Paddy Upton.
Rabada fetched the same price as New Zealand fast bowler Trent Boult‚ and almost R6-million more than Eoin Morgan‚ Angelo Mathews‚ Corey Anderson and Mitchell Johnson. But Rabada’s salary pales next to the R28.3-million that Punjab will pay England all-rounder Ben Stokes‚ the most yet spent on a foreigner since the tournament started in 2008.
The next most expensive player was left-arm fast bowler Tymal Mills‚ who went for the equivalent of R23.4-million despite his international experience being limited to four T20s for England in which he has taken three wickets and has an economy rate of 7.25.
Stokes and Mills were the only players among the 108 on auction who garnered higher prices than Rabada.