CAPE TOWN – Kagiso Rabada would never have thought it, but ahead of his appeal against the ICC’s two-match ban for his altercation with Steve Smith on Monday, he received a degree of sympathy from an Australian great.
Brett Lee, who used to “terrorise” batsmen the world over with his express pace for many years, has said that he doesn’t want “robots on the field” in the wake of Rabada’s two-Test suspension for brushing the shoulder of Australian captain Smith in Port Elizabeth.
In an interview with the AFP news agency, Lee also stated how impressed he was with Rabada’s bowling.
But without going into the details of the Rabada-Smith incident, Lee spoke about how bowlers should be allowed to be aggressive on a cricket field.
“The thing that I will say about that, in all honesty, is we don’t want robots on the field,” the 41-year-old Lee told AFP.
“Of course, there is a line that the players should not cross. You don’t racially vilify someone. You don’t use excessive swearing or stuff that can upset children who are listening in. Other than that, you’ve got to play hard cricket.
“Now I am not saying I agree with what happened, and I am not saying that I don’t agree with what happened, but what I can say is that we don’t want to get into a stage where players can’t even look at a batsman, batsman can’t even look at a bowler without getting into trouble.”
On Rabada’s bowling, Lee said about the 22-year-old Proteas paceman: “He’s good, I like him. Gets good shape on the ball.
“He comes around the wicket a fair bit to the left-handers, which I like, and has got good pace and aggression, and that’s what you need.”
Rabada will be represented by Advocate Dali Mpofu at the ICC appeal hearing on Monday, which is being held via teleconference with judicial commissioner Michael Heron QC, with the South African bowler hoping to be cleared to play in the third Test starting at Newlands on Thursday.