New Delhi: South African pacer Kagiso Rabada who spearheaded South Africa’s emphatic win against Australia in the second Test in Port Elizabeth has been handed a 2-match suspension by the International cricket Council.
Rabada on Monday was found guilty of breaching ICC Code of Conduct when he made physical contact with Australian captain Steve Smith after dismissing him on 25 on the opening day of the second Test. The ban means that the 22-year-old will now miss the remaining two Test matches of the series.
“Kagiso Rabada has been suspended for South Africa’s next two Test matches after being found guilty of a Level 2 ICC Code of Conduct offence of ‘inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a player’. He has received a fine of 50 per cent of his match fee and three demerit points after a disciplinary hearing following his denial of the charge. This means Rabada has accumulated eight demerit points within a 24-month period automatically leading to a two match suspension,” ICC said in its release.
The incident happened in the 52nd over of Australia’s first innings, when after dismissing Smith, Rabada moved towards the slips. On his way the 22-year-old made shoulder contact with the Australian captain.
Rabada on Sunday attended a hearing convened by match referee denying the charges pleaded not guilty. But the match referee along with the umpires declared the 22-year-old guilty of the charges and slapped him with 3 demerit points.
"I found that there was contact between Rabada and Smith. In my judgement the contact by Rabada was inappropriate, and deliberate. He had the opportunity to avoid the contact, and I could not see any evidence to support the argument that the contact was accidental. I take no pleasure in seeing a player suspended, particularly a young player of Kagiso’s talent, but he has now breached the ICC Code of Conduct on a number of occasions" match referee Jeff Crowe said.
The Proteas now have 48 hours to decide on whether to appeal the decision as they currently are seeking the advice of legal counsel. If the team opts to appeal then the ICC has 48 hours to appoint a judicial commissioner to hear the appeal. The process till the final decision can take a maximum of 11 days but as the third Test starts in 10, the South African Cricket Board can present an argument to the judicial commissioner to allow Rabada to play while the appeal is pending.
Apart from the physical contact offence, Rabada also pleaded guilty to his second offence of using foul language against Australian opener David Warner in the same Test on Sunday. After dismissing Warner, Rabada gave an inappropriate send-off which caught the attention of the officials.
“Rabada has accepted a second charge under 2.1.7 of the code – using language, actions or gestures which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batsman upon his or her dismissal. He received a further 15% fine of his match fee and an additional demerit point bringing his total to nine, the ICC release stated.