Johannesburg - In a World Cup expected to be dominated by batsmen, the Ontong: Proteas' fielding could be the key to CWC success
Rugby was his first sporting love but it was soon obvious he had cricketing ability as a swashbuckling left-handed batsman and raw fast bowler.
Wim Jansen, director of cricket at St Stithians, said Rabada always had raw pace but was inconsistent and bowled too many no-balls.
"He was a quick learner and worked incredibly hard, and still does. His discipline, especially in terms of conditioning exercise, was incredible," Jansen said.
Off the field, Rabada is calm, modest and matter-of-fact.
On the field, though, he has incurred disciplinary action from match referees on four occasions in the past two years.
"Most of the time I try to let the ball talk and not my mouth," he said. "Here and there I will say the odd thing but I am definitely aggressive as a player."
Rabada's fitness is a worry after he had to withdraw from the Indian Premier League this year because of a back strain.
He had taken 25 wickets in 12 matches for the Delhi Capitals following a gruelling international season in which he played in all South Africa's five Test matches and 14 of 16 one-day internationals, leading to concern about his workload.
South African team management are hoping Rabada will be able to hit peak form again after a period of rest and rehabilitation, which included a month's break from playing.
South Africa's 2019 Cricket World Cup squad:
Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Rassie van der Dussen