CAPE TOWN – Proteas coach Ottis Gibson believes star fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has “learnt his lesson” after his suspension was lifted on Tuesday.
Rabada escaped censure after his initial Level 2 charge that carried three demerit points was reduced to a Level 1 offence of one demerit point, after CSA’s legal team – headed by Advocate Dali Mpofu – were victorious in their appeal.
The decision allows the young fast bowler to take his place in the Proteas line-up for Thursday’s third Test against the Aussies here at Newlands.
“I am sure he would have learnt his lesson from last week. I don’t think he will make the same mistake again. He is a smart kid,” Gibson told reporters.
“He is very much aware of his celebration. I don’t want to say behaviour because he is not a bad-behaved kid. He is just very excited and exuberant at times.
“But when you playing against the best teams in the world, that sometimes comes out of you.
“In all the things he has done, there has been no aggressive intent. We have made him aware of the batsmen’s space and where his space needs to be.”
Gibson, though, admitted that the Proteas are “delighted” with the outcome and that the entire team’s morale will be lifted due to the availability of their star fast bowler.
“KG was going to be a big miss, and the reason CSA fought the case was because we did not believe it merited a suspension,” Gibson said.
“We are obviously happy, delighted in fact, that we won that case. Him being available lifts everybody. He has been outstanding in the series thus far, and he is the No 1 bowler in the world,” the West Indian said.
“I think I saw somewhere that the Aussies wanted to play against the best teams and the best players, so I am sure they are also delighted that he is playing – if that’s what they are saying.
“So, everyone concerned in cricket, we believe it is the right call.”
Meanwhile, Proteas team manager Mohammed Moosajee hoped that Rabada’s case will bring some clarity to how the ICC deals with such matters in future.
“There were definitely key learnings for everyone, and I think it will stimulate healthy debate and it might even allow for people to sit around a table,” Moosajee said.
“The ICC are the custodians of the game, and we may have to look at things around processes, independent judicial commissions, words in the Code of Conduct manual... those are the kinds of debates that could take place, and we as South Africa will be happy to contribute to that.”
Moosajee stressed that although CSA defended Rabada vehemently, they have made the 22-year-old aware of his responsibilities to the nation.
“We believe that KG never deliberately charged Steven Smith with his shoulder. We do understand, though, that KG is quite a fiery character on the field, but there are rules and regulations that govern the conduct on the field,” he said.
“Like every other player, this applies to KG as well, and he is well aware of it.
“He’s the first to admit that he must take better responsibility and better handle his positive and aggressive celebration, and not get careless, nor be disrespectful.”