Article

Rabada free to play in rest of South Africa-Australia series

20 março 2018 09:04

Kagiso Rabada is free to play in the remainder of South Africa's series with Australia after the ICC deemed him "not guilty of the charge of making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact" with Steve Smith in the second Test.

Rabada received a two-Test ban, keeping him out for the rest of the series, having originally been ruled to have made inappropriate and deliberate contact with Smith after dismissing the Australia captain.

He was fined 50 per cent of his match fee and hit with three demerit points as punishment for the incident, the latter sanction prompting an automatic two-match suspension for the accumulation of eight demerit points within a 24-month period.

However, the fast bowler, who took figures of 11-150 in a match-winning performance in Port Elizabeth, appealed and, following a reported six-hour hearing, his suspension was reversed.

Rabada was found guilty of conduct contrary to the spirit of the game, receiving a fine of 25 per cent of his match fee and just the single demerit point - taking his total to seven.

Michael Heron QC, who oversaw the hearing, said in summary of his findings: "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.

"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 per cent 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."

ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: "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."

Fast bowler Duanne Olivier and all-rounder Chris Morris were included in South Africa's squad for the remainder of the series amid the uncertainty surrounding Rabada's status.

But Rabada is sure to be selected for the third Test, which starts in Cape Town on Thursday, as South Africa look to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match series.

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