Young Protean pacer Kagiso Rabada was awarded Wisden’s Golden Boy of 2018, an award for the best men’s cricketer in the world aged 23 or under.
Rabada has made rapid strides in international cricket having made his Test debut in 2015. In 32 Tests so far Rabada has taken 151 wickets and is placed second in the ICC Test rankings for bowlers only behind England's James Anderson.
Rabada recently became the youngest bowler to top the ICC rankings and in the process has become the youngest bowler after India's Harbhajan Singh to get to 150 Test wickets.
“We all knew in South Africa that Kagiso Rabada was destined for big things. I knew it was going to come, but I didn’t know it was going to come this quickly,” Allan Donald, the former South African quick, told Wisden Cricket Monthly.
“When Dale Steyn first broke through his consistency and the rate he was taking wickets at was quite frightening and the same is now happening with Kagiso. He’s just incredible, a machine really, and fantastic to watch."
“Kagiso is well on his way to becoming South Africa’s all-time greatest fast bowler. Going at the rate he is it’s a case of when rather than if he becomes our country’s leading Test wicket-taker and it will be a proud moment for me seeing this young man do that, a magnificent achievement for him and an inspiration for all young black cricketers in South Africa.”
Rabada is one of three South Africans to feature in the top 10 of the list, with Aiden Markram appearing at No.3 and Lungi Ngidi at No.9. The rest of the top 10 is made up of Rashid Khan (No.2), Babar Azam (No.4), Kuldeep Yadav (No.5), Rishabh Pant (No.6), Kusal Mendis (No.7), Matt Renshaw (No.8) and Shadab Khan (No.10).
The list has representatives from 13 different countries witha handful of U19 stars including Australian leg-spinner Lloyd Pope (No.45), Afghanistan’s Mujeeb Ur Rahman (No.13) and four of India’s title-winning side, with their captain Prithvi Shaw (No.15).
The list was prepared after discussing with all the Wisden correspondents from all across the globe. Wisden's Golden Girl of 2018 – for the best women's cricketer aged 23 or under – will be announced next month.
(With ICC inputs)