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Cricket great Smith hails natural Rabada

AAP logoAAP 9/11/2016 Adrian Warren

Thrust into the Test cricket cauldron at a young age, former South African captain Graeme Smith admires the way new Proteas pace sensation Kagiso Rabada has handled the same challenge.

Rabada stepped up magnificently when pace spearhead Dale Steyn was injured during this week's Test win over Australia in Perth.

He took 5-92 off 31 overs in the second innings and seven wickets for the game to earn the man-of-the-match award.

It was a fourth five wicket haul in just nine Tests for the 21-year-old Test speedster.

He played his first senior international at 19 and like Smith has been given plenty of responsibility at a young age.

Smith, who made his Test debut at 21 and started his captaincy tenure in his ninth match just over a year later, described Rabada's performance in Perth as incredible..

"You don't ever want to put that pressure on a young man but I got given the captaincy at 22 so I understand about being thrust into the cauldron and the pressure environment," .Smith said.

"He's a black man, he's an icon already in South African cricket.

"He's a hero to so many from all walks of life in South Africa.

"Cricket South Africa have got him all on the billboards and he's won all the awards and you keep thinking 'when is it going to be too much for him at this young age?'

"But I think his greatest thing is he just takes it in his stride. His demeanour, his attitude towards life and cricket I think is his greatest asset.

"He just looks so natural out there."

Smith described the win in Perth as fantastic and a proud South African moment..

He was inducted as a Bradman Honouree at The Bradman Foundation's Gala Dinner at the Sydney Cricket Ground.on Wednesday night.

"Australian cricket has played a big role in my career," Smith said.

"That 05-06 tour if I look back was one of the toughest experiences of my career.

"I really left that tour knowing that I needed to develop and needed to grow as a person and as a cricketer."

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