Image courtesy of: Zimbio
South Africa pace bowler Kagiso Rabada has been cleared to participate in the third Test against Australia in Cape Town after his two-match ban was overturned by Michael Heron, the ICC’s judicial commissioner.
Rabada, who was represented by renowned South African legal advocate Dali Mpofu, appealed against his ban, which stemmed from two separate incidents that occurred during the second Test in Port Elizabeth.
The first incident saw the 22-year-old make shoulder-to-shoulder contact with Australia skipper Steve Smith, while the second was for his celebration after dismissing opening batsman and vice-captain David Warner.
As a result, Rabada was fined 65 percent of his match fee and handed four demerit points.
Rabada only appealed against the incident with Smith, where he was fined 50 percent of his match fee and handed three demerit points.
Following a hearing, which lasted over six hours and was done via video conference, Rabada’s Level 2 charge was downgraded to Level 1, and he was fined just 25 percent of his match fee and given one demerit point.
The change in the charge and sanctions means Rabada is under the limit that equates to an automatic ban, and therefore, he has been cleared to feature in the third Test.
Rabada, Proteas captain Faf du Plessis and South Africa team manager Mohammed Moosajee all took part in the hearing.
In his judgment, Heron was quoted by ESPNcricinfo as saying: “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% 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 that the governing body has accepted Heron’s decision and have no intentions of lodging an appeal.
“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,” he 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. We want to see the game played with skill, passion and respect for the opposition, the match officials and the laws.”
The third Test between South Africa and Australia will get underway on Thursday.