Kagiso Rabada cleared to play Cape Town Test against Australia

By @saihoops on
Kagiso Rabada
Cricket - South Africa vs Australia - Second Test - St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, South Africa - March 9, 2018 South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada celebrates taking the wicket of Australia’s Steve Smith Reuters / Mike Hutchings

South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada will be allowed to play in the forthcoming Cape Town Test match against Australia after his two-match ban was overturned on Tuesday. Rabada, who was instrumental in South Africa levelling the Test series at two wins apiece at Port Elizabeth, was banned for making physical contact with Australian captain Steve Smith at St. George's Park.

However, Rabada and the South African cricket team appealed the suspension to the International Cricket Council (ICC) and had the decision overturned by Michael Heron, the ICC's code of conduct appeal commissioner. Though many analysts believe Rabada crossed the line, some have come out in support of the ICC lifting the ban.

According to ESPNCricinfo, the ban was overturned after a hearing via Monday's video conference, in which Rabada's case was narrated by South African legal advocate Dali Mpofu. As a result, Rabada's level 2 charge for physical contact was reduced to a level 1 charge for conduct. Rabada will be fined 25 percent of his match fee and one demerit point, instead of the three he was handed by ICC match referee Jeff Crowe.

Kagiso Rabada will play third Australia vs South Africa Test

In his statement, Heron said he was displeased with Rabada's physical contact with Smith but revealed that the South African bowler was committed to improved behaviour for the rest of the four-Test series.

"The key issue is whether Mr Rabada made 'inappropriate and deliberate physical contact' with Mr Smith. I am not 'comfortably satisfied' that Mr 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% of the applicable match fee to be the appropriate penalty for the breach of Article 2.1.1. As a consequence, 1 demerit point accrues. Mr. Rabada will be well aware of the consequences of any further breaches of the code," Heron's judgement reads.

The third Test match of Australia's tour of South Africa gets underway at Newlands, Cape Town, on Thursday, March 22. With the four-Test series tied at one victory apiece, the third match could essentially decide the outcome of the cricket series. Four years ago, Michael Clarke's Aussies pulled off a 2-1 series victory against their bitter rivals.