South Africa's Kagiso Rabada available to face Australia after ban is overturned

South Africa's Kagiso Rabada available to face Australia after ban is overturned

Ross Houston
March 21, 2018

South African seamer Kagiso Rabada has been cleared to play the third Test against Australia at Newlands after successfully overturning a two-match suspension imposed by the ICC against him.

Rabada was found guilty of a Level 2 charge and subsequently copped a two-match ban following his "shoulder brush" with Australian captain Steve Smith at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth.

An accumulation of eight demerit points within a two-year period automatically results in a two-Test ban.

Now the top-ranked Test bowler in the world, Rabada is free to play the third Test that starts in Cape Town on Thursday, with the four-match series tied at 1-1.

That could make the accuracy and persistence of South Africa s Vernon Philander and Australia s Josh Hazlewood crucial.

Australian spin bowler Nathan Lyon said his side had "no dramas" with the decision to clear Rabada and were looking forward to facing him again.

It's great news for South Africa and Rabada, who nearly single-handedly levelled the four-Test series at 1-1 after taking 11-150 in Port Elizabeth, his fourth 10-wicket haul. "We've made him aware of that but like you saw yesterday he came out and I had to nearly force him to warm up because call he wanted to do was get stuck in with his teammates".

"The thing that I will say about that, in all honesty, is we don't want robots on the field", he told AFP ahead of the T20 tri-series final between India and Bangladesh in Colombo on Sunday.

Now that he has won an unexpected reprieve, with Cricket South Africa having moved heaven and earth to rustle up a case for him and assembled the legal muscle to make it, he's been put on notice to stay away from opposition batsmen. But there was not aggressive intent there apart from celebrating a wicket.

Critics of the ICC and how its disciplinary system operates have been given further ammunition by the staggering reversal of match referee Jeff Crowe's decision. "At the end of the day, it comes back to cricket". I consider the conduct was inappropriate, lacked respect for his fellow player and involved non-deliberate and minor contact. That Lyon loves bowling to left-handed batsmen is well documented but he will have to find a way to spin a web around the Protea batsmen to help the Aussie fast bowlers. "We have two massive test matches to come and we will have to play at our best to beat South Africa". "We, as South Africa, would be happy to contribute to that".

Faf du Plessis failed in his bid to have a conviction for ball-tampering overturned in December 2015‚ and Quinton de Kock unsuccessfully contested not the charge but the sanction for bringing the game into disrepute for his role in the verbal tirade David Warner unleashed on him at Kingsmead during the first test of the current series.

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