South Africa news March 1, 2015

Kagiso Rabada handed CSA contract

Kagiso Rabada recently broke the record for the most wickets in a match in the franchise era in South Africa's first-class competition © ICC

Under-19 World Cup winner Kagiso Rabada has yet to enter his 20s but is already a full-time employee. He was the youngest of the 17 players who were given a central contract by Cricket South Africa and joined Kyle Abbott and Aaron Phangiso on the list of first-time recipients. Alviro Petersen, who has retired from international cricket, Robin Peterson and Rory Kleinveldt lost their deals.

Since starring with 6 for 25 in the age-group tournament semi-final against Australia, Rabada has been fast-tracked onto the big stage, making an international debut in a T20 series against Australia, and blazed a trail by breaking the record for the most wickets in a match in the franchise era in South Africa's first-class competition. Last weekend, Rabada took 14 for 105 for the Lions against the Dolphins beating the record set by Dale Steyn, who took 14 for 110 for the Titans' seven seasons previously.

Rabada is known for his raw pace and well-directed aggression and has been called a "thoroughbred" by South Africa's bowling coach Allan Donald. He joins a well-stocked South Africa pace cupboard which also includes Abbott, who is currently part of the World Cup squad, and Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who has not played an international in almost a year since the World T20 last March, but kept his contract.

Ryan McLaren was also retained despite being left out of the World Cup squad and indicating he would consider overseas options in some capacity after the snub. McLaren was part of the South African A side that played in an unofficial two-Test series against the England Lions earlier this year and his hopes of playing in all formats at the highest level remain high.

South Africa's new contract list gave no indication of what their plans are for replacing Petersen, the Test opener who called time after a string of poor scores. Stiaan van Zyl, the Cobras No. 3, who has been tipped to transform into an opener and take over, was left on a high-performance contract, which he was on last summer as well.

The 12 players on high-performance deals are expected to feature heavily in South African A sides and include Farhaan Behardien, offspinner Dane Piedt, who took eight wickets on Test debut, and left-arm seamer Mthokozisi Shezi.

CSA also extended the contracts of six of the players who were on two-year deals by another year. Those include the captains in all three formats, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, as well JP Duminy, Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn. Vernon Philander was also on a two-year deal but has not received an additional year.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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