IPL 'not a crisis' for bowlers' workloads
Kagiso Rabada had bowled 115 deliveries for Delhi Capitals in this year's Indian Premier League (IPL) going into their match against Royal Challengers in Bangalore today.
He went to the IPL fresh from running in 1,665 times in 11 matches for SA from September to March.
By the time the tournament is done, on May 12, Rabada may have sent down 288 more balls.
Then it's off to England for the biggest assignment of his senior career, the Cricket World Cup, where we could see him at the top of his run another 660 times.
All told, from the beginning of last season to the end of the Cricket World Cup on July 14, Rabada could have put his soon to be 24-year-old body - the calendar will click over for him on May 25 - through the rigours of his mercifully silky action on 2,728 separate occasions.
That doesn't factor in his wides and no-balls, which will have to be rebowled, nor what he gets through in training.
Neither does it consider the arduousness of scrunching his 1.9m into the confines of an aircraft seat for hours at a time, nor getting a decent amount of sleep in an assortment of hotel beds.
It's bloody hard work being a fast bowler, never mind a fast bowler who plays in all formats at international level and is ranked in the top five in two of them.
So when you watch Rabada york André Russell and concede only seven in a super over in which he also bowled to Robin Uthappa and Dinesh Karthik - as he did to beat Kolkata Knight Riders in Delhi on March 30 - know that what you're getting is exponentially more than what you're seeing.
But concerns that Rabada is bowling himself into early middle age are not as uppermost as you might think.
A member of SA's medical team explained that, even at something as removed from reality as the IPL, bowlers adhere to the number of deliveries allocated to them by physiotherapists and trainers.
Whatever they don't use in games is consigned to practice, and the information is sent home to be analysed.
"The IPL is not a crisis," the medic said. "There's not a lot of bowling going on there. In fact, it's about getting them to bowl enough.
"We have to ensure they stay fit enough to, in this case, bowl 10 overs at the World Cup."
The more pressing challenge was to strike a balance because, "there are two types of players - those who do too much and those who do too little".
No prizes for guessing which of those tendencies includes bowlaholics like Rabada.