South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada will play no further part in the Test series against Australia after receiving a two-match suspension from the International Cricket Council, hours after the hosts levelled the series 1-1.
Rabada was found guilty of two charges, one graver than the other, by the ICC. The first one related to the pacer making “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact” with Australia captain Steve Smith after dismissing him in the first innings of the second Test. The 22-year-old was fined 50% of his match fee and received three demerit points for this charge, taking his tally to eight over a two-year period, which led to the suspension.
“I found that there was contact between Rabada and Smith, and in my judgement the contact by Rabada was inappropriate, and deliberate,” said match referee Jeff 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.”
The second charge was related to Rabada sending off David Warner during the match, which led to another fine of 15% of his match fee and gained him an additional demerit point, bringing his total to nine. He had been charged with the same offence during the Test series against India earlier this year, when he had sent off Shikhar Dhawan with a wave.
Last year, Rabada had clashed with Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dickwella during an ODI. The two players had made contact with each other at the non-striker’s end after the batsman had completed a single. Both were fined and received three demerit points. Later that year, Rabada used “inappropriate language” after dismissing Ben Stokes and accumulated a total of four demerit points, which led to a suspension of one Test match.
“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,” Crowe added.
Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh was also fined 20% of his match fee and handed one demerit point for “using language or gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting” during the match. Marsh accepted the charge and no formal hearing was needed, the ICC said.
The ICC’s verdict was announced hours after Rabada led South Africa to a six-wicket win in the second Test, which levelled what has been a highly tempestuous series. Warner was fined 75% of his match fee and given three demerit points following a bust-up with South Africa’s Quinton de Kock during the tea break on day four of the first Test, which Australia won.
Warner had claimed that De Kock made “disgusting, vile” comments about his wife. Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon was also fined for his reaction following the run out of the Proteas’ AB de Villiers.
Crowe said that he was disappointed with the latest charges considering “this has happened the day after the pre-match meeting I had with both teams, where the importance of respect for opponents was highlighted”.
The charges against Rabada and Marsh were levelled by on-field umpires Chris Gaffaney and Kumar Dharmasena, third umpire Sundaram Ravi and fourth umpire Bongani Jele, an ICC release said.