Kagiso Rabada cleared to play Newlands Test
He was not guilty of a Level 2 offence but was guilty of conduct contrary to the spirit of the game.
Kagiso Rabada has been cleared to play the third Test between South Africa and Australia at Newlands. The decision was made after a hearing before the Right Honourable Michael Heron, who imposed a sanction of a fine of 25% of his match fees and one demerit point.
The 22-year-old pacer's punishment was reduced after he appealed for a review after he was handed three demerit points for deliberately making physical contact with Australian captain Steve Smith during the first innings of the Port Elizabeth Test.
The appeal was heard by Michael Heron, and was presented by SA advocate Dali Mpofu, over a video call. The following were the findings of Heron, based on the case presented:
“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".The following are the findings of Heron:
“I am entitled, however, to consider whether the conduct involved constitutes a lower-level offence. I consider the conduct was inappropriate, lacked respect for his fellow player and involved non-deliberate and minor contact. The actions contravened the principle that a dismissed batsman should be left alone".
“I consider a penalty of the imposition of a fine of 25% of the applicable match fee to be the appropriate penalty for the breach of Article 2.1.1. As a consequence, 1 demerit point accrues. Mr. Rabada will be well aware of the consequences of any further breaches of the code.”
Speaking on the verdict, the ICC sent out a release, saying:
"The ICC wholly accepts today's decision and I would like to thank Mr. Heron for overseeing the hearing in a short time frame before the next Test starts in South Africa. 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. We want to see the game played with skill, passion and respect for the opposition, the match officials and the laws."
Rabada picked up 11 wickets in the Test, with the series currently poised at 1-1.