CAPE TOWN – It took two days of consideration and legal advice, but the call has been made – Kagiso Rabada will be appealing his sanction for the “shoulder” incident involving Australian captain Steve Smith.
Proteas star Rabada – who returned to the No 1 ranking in the ICC Test bowlers list on Tuesday – was suspended for the final two Tests of the gripping four-match series against Australia, at Newlands (starting on March 22) and Wanderers (March 30).
ICC match referee Jeff Crowe deemed that Rabada was guilty of “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a player” after he was deemed to have brushed Smith’s shoulder after dismissing the right-hander at St George’s Park on Sunday.
Rabada was the Man of the Match after producing figures of 11/150 in the game, but received a sanction of three demerit points and fined 50 percent of his match fee, which took him to eight points overall, which automatically results in a two-Test suspension.
“ICC confirms that Kagiso Rabada has appealed against the Level 2 breach following the incident with Steve Smith during the Port Elizabeth Test. ICC will now appoint a Judicial Commissioner at the earliest opportunity and hearing details will be confirmed in due course,” the organisation tweeted on Wednesday.
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis, while acknowledging that the 22-year-old need to be “a bit smarter” when it comes to his wicket-taking celebrations, said Rabada was showing “pure passion” when he got a batsman out.
“Obviously these days the attention has focused on what is allowed, what is not allowed, I just think that has changed so much over a year or two,” Du Plessis said at the post-match press conference.
“Two or three years ago, that was the norm. If you know KG’s character, he is not a guy like that. KG will probably have to get a bit smarter when he celebrates a wicket. I don’t think he does anything wrong.”
Rabada admitted that he needed to rein in his behaviour as he was “letting the team down and letting myself down”, but was adamant that he “never felt contact at all” with Smith.