It truly is a beautiful thing for a young person to remind us that youth is not always wasted on the young.
One of the most beautiful things about Kagiso Rabada being the top-ranked bowler in the world is the knowledge that he is still at the beginning of his career. He’s just 22 years old and has just 24 Test caps to his name.
He only started playing international cricket two years ago but already he has 110 Test wickets. By clinching the world number-one spot, he becomes only the seventh South African to top the rankings after Aubrey Faulkner, Hugh Tayfield, Peter Pollock, Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander.
And he’s not done yet. In press interviews, he’s quoted saying he’s “striving for perfection”.
His determination to do more, to do better, leaves us somewhat hopeful, somewhat more confident about the future — and not just Rabada’s future. It leaves the rest of us with some hope for delayed dividends from our own squanderings.
But there’s something else.
We hope for a future in which a black man reaches the pinnacle of his sport, and we never have to use that to demonstrate why every pundit, former cricketer, former South Africans and disgruntled South Africans are wrong about the dogged pursuit of transformation.
It’s a future in which all these people are so wrong they have already been relegated to the dustbins of history.
But that future is not yet here. Those voices still follow us.
So we take great glee in pointing out that transforming cricket in South Africa must continue apace — preferably apace with Rabada.