South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has successfully overturned his two-Test ban after winning an appeal over an alleged shoulder contact with Australian captain Steve Smith during the opening day of the second Test of the four-match series.
#BreakingNews #CSANews #ICCnews Rabada not guilty of Level 2 offence; available for third Australia Test https://t.co/i6Ia1yWP4G#RabadaAppeal #ProteaFire #SAvAUS #SunfoilTest pic.twitter.com/gFV24v0QiW— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) 20 March 2018
According to a media release by the International Cricket Council (ICC), the 22-year-old South African has been found not guilty of the charge of making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with Smith. However, Rabada was found guilty of “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game,” for which a sanction of a fine of 25% of his match fee and one demerit point was imposed. This brings the player’s demerit points to an accumulated total of seven, meaning that he is still free to play in the series against Australia.
“The key issue is whether Mr Rabada made ‘inappropriate and deliberate physical contact’ with Mr. Smith. I am not ‘comfortably satisfied’ that Mr. Rabada intended to make contact and I therefore find him not guilty of the charge under 2.2.7." - Right Honourable Michael Heron QC pic.twitter.com/aFVR3OKdmq— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) 20 March 2018
Rabada – the No. 1 in the ICC Test Bowlers ranking list – argued that, although there was a contact made with Smith, it was merely accidental. "If I knew I did it deliberately, I wouldn't have gone to contest (the charge),' the fast bowler said. 'I didn't even feel contact in that moment because I was so pumped up.'
Now that the appeal resulted successful, Rabada’s cumulative demerit points tally remains at seven, meaning that any further disciplinary penalty could result in a ban. Regarding the case, ICC chief executive David Richardson said: ‘This is perhaps an opportune moment to remind all players of their responsibilities to maintaining a standard of behaviour which sets a good example to players at all levels of the game, especially the young players."
The third Test against Australia starts on Thursday 22 March in Cape Town.