Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has been named Newcomer of the Year at the 10th annual SA Sports Awards in Bloemfontein on Sunday.
Rabada holds the record for the best figures on debut - 6 for 16 against Bangladesh, including a hat-trick - and is widely believed as the next big thing in South African cricket. He has played all forms of the game and has been particularly impressive with his ability to bowl quick, full and accurate. Dale Steyn has said the 20-year old Rabada had more talent at that age than he did, and now CSA chairman Haroon Lorgat has chimed in with: "Kagiso Rabada is a standout talent and destined for greatness."
The nominees for the SA Sports Awards had been chosen subject to a time frame from September 1 2014 to September 30 2015 and included AB de Villiers for the SA Sports Star of the Year award. Medium-pacer Shabnim Ismail was in the running for the corresponding award in the women's category as well. All of which were a sign that South African cricket was in good hands, according to Lorgat.
"The success of our programmes is also reflected in the fact that we had several other finalist nominees including our World No. 1 Proteas Test team, the world's best batsman, AB de Villiers, for the SA Sports Star of the Year, Shabnim Ismail in the SA Women's Sports Star of the Year award, and Geoffrey Toyana as SA Coach of the Year.
"While Kagiso deservedly won his award the other nominees make us equally proud and deserve our congratulations for being recognised among the best in their respective categories."
Former first-class cricketer Rushdie Magiet, who played 37 matches in a decade-long career, was one of four recipients of the inaugural Steve Tshwete Lifetime Achiever award. Magiet, 72, represented Western Province from 1971-72 to 1980-81 and took 109 wickets at an average of 13.63 and an economy of 1.83.
"I know Rushdi Magiet personally and he has indeed given a lifetime of service not only to cricket but also to social responsibility," Lorgat said. "We are delighted that he has received this well merited award."