Kagiso Rabada will miss the remainder of South Africa’s four-match Test series against Australia after being found guilty of a Level 2 code of conduct breach. Rabada took 11 wickets in the second Test in Port Elizabeth to lead South Africa to a series-levelling six-wicket win, but had been charged with an offence for making contact with Steven Smith after having dismissed the Australian captain.
The incident happened in the 52nd over in the first innings, when moving towards the slips, Rabada made contact with Smith’s shoulder.
Rabada contested the charge, but was found guilty, and slapped with a 50 percent match fee fine along with three demerit points. Since Rabada was already on five demerit points and having accumulated eight demerit points overall now, he is automatically suspended from two matches.
Rabada had also been charged separately for a Level 1 offence for giving a send-off to David Warner in the second innings, and he accepted that charge. That brought him a further 15% match fee fine and one demerit point, making it a total of nine demerit points for Rabada and a total fine of 65% of his match fee.
Rabada’s demerit point history:
February 2017: Three demerit points v Sri Lanka for inappropriate and deliberate physical contact.
July 2017: One demerit point v England for a send-off offence (One match suspension / four accumulated demerit points).
February 2018: One demerit point v India for a send-off offence.
March 2018: Three demerit points v Australia for inappropriate and deliberate physical contact (Two match suspension / eight accumulated demerit points).
March 2018: One demerit point v Australia for a send-off offence.
South Africa can appeal the decision, but they will have to do it in 48 hours. However, if they do appeal, the match referee’s decision will stand pending the outcome of the hearing. Rabada will, therefore, not be eligible for selection. The independent Judicial Commissioner who will be appointed if there is an appeal has the powers to increase or decrease the sanction and his decision will be full and final, and will be binding on all parties.
Meanwhile, Mitchell Marsh also earned a sanction from Jeff Crowe, the match referee, being fined 20 percent of his match fee and earning one demerit point for a level 1 offence which pertains to “using language or gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an International Match.” Marsh accepted the charge and no formal hearing was needed.
Crowe said that in his judgment, the contact that Rabada made with Smith was deliberate.
“I found that there was contact between Rabada and Smith, and in my judgement the contact by Rabada was inappropriate, and deliberate,” said Crowe. “He had the opportunity to avoid the contact, and I could not see any evidence to support the argument that the contact was accidental.
“It is also disappointing that this has happened the day after the pre-match meeting I had with both teams, where the importance of respect for opponents was highlighted.
“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.”