South Africa captain Dean Elgar and head coach Mark Boucher revealed on Thursday that talisman Kagiso Rabada was fired-up after a honest dressing room chat in which harsh words were spoken to him. Rabada disappointed in the final session on Day 2, but on Day 3 he sported a completely different avatar as a hostile spell saw him break India’s back by claiming a stunning three-wicket haul.
In the aftermath of the win, skipper Elgar revealed that he had a ‘tough-love’ conversation with Rabada which spurred on the pacer to unleash the best version of himself.
"I was someone who went to KG and I told him he's an immensely respected cricketer and at the moment, he's not conducting himself well when it comes to performance," Elgar said.
"I know what KG is capable of and he is world-class and when he's got his tail up, there's no better bowler in the world.
"It was a good chat and I can have those chats with KG because he responds to them extremely well as he packs it away, processes it overnight and comes back the next day with a scenario.
"He said I hit the nail on the head and I think he was under-selling his value to the group and I think he can be too relaxed.
"It was a tough-love conversation between KG and I."
The incident was then confirmed by head coach Boucher, who said that Rabada, like Dale Steyn back in the day, is the kind of person that at times needs a rocket to get fired up.
"There are certain guys; Dale Steyn was one of them who at certain times in his career needed harsh words behind closed doors to bring the best out of him," Boucher said in the post-match TV interview.
"KG, that spell he bowled, broke the game open for us. There was a bit of a spark in the dressing room, maybe it was what was needed to get him into that space.
"We know when KG is like that it's difficult to get the ball away from him but also you want him on your side rather than the opposition team.”
Boucher hoped for Rabada to be in the ‘same sweet spot’ that he found himself on Day 4 in Johannesburg.
"There were fair words that were said and I think he's taken it on board and we're hoping we can get him into that sweet spot again for the next Test because it can only bode well for us."