South Africa pacer Kagiso Rababa on Tuesday was cleared to play the third Test against Australia after an International Cricket Council hearing on Monday. Rabada, though, was fined 25 percent of his match fee and handed one demerit point, making it seven in total.
The 22-year-old, who put in an inspired display to pick up 11/150 and help his side level the series at Port Elizabeth, was initially handed a two-match ban for improper conduct. The ICC, however, said that in the incident in contention – a shoulder brush against Australia captain Steve Smith – was not conclusive enough if the pacer made ‘deliberate physical contact’ with his opponent.
Michael Heron, the judicial commissioner appointed by the ICC, said: “The key issue is whether Rabada made ‘inappropriate and deliberate physical contact’ with Steve Smith. I am not ‘comfortably satisfied’ that 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 percent of the applicable match fee to be the appropriate penalty for the breach of Article 2.1.1. As a consequence, one demerit point accrues. Rabada will be well aware of the consequences of any further breaches of the code.”
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson 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.”