Star bowler Rabada banned for rest of SA-Australia series

Cricket – England vs South Africa – First Test – London, Britain – July 6, 2017 South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada celebrates the wicket of England’s Ben Stokes Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

Star South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada won’t see any more action in the series against Australia.  He was found  guilty of two charges of misconduct for aggressive wicket celebrations in the second contest and has been banned from further play.

Rabada received three demerit points following his first offense, intentionally bumping into Australia captain Steve Smith after dismissing him in the first innings. The infraction took him over a disciplinary threshold which led to an automatic two-test ban.

Because of that, Rabada will miss the decisive matches in Cape Town and Johannesburg having won the man-of-the-match award for his 11 wickets in South Africa’s series-leveling win in the second match in Port Elizabeth.

The decision by the International Cricket Council was announced just hours after Rabada was the star of the show in the second test at St. George’s Park.

“I’ve let myself down and let the team down,” Rabada said. “I have to see it as a learning curve. I’m not happy about it, (but) time moves on.”

Rabada contested the first charge, claiming the contact with Smith, who he brushed past as he celebrated the wicket, was unintentional. ICC rules brought in recently are aimed at stopping any physical contact at all between bowlers and batsmen, though, in an attempt to crack down on incidents that might cause flashpoints in games.

Rabada pleaded guilty to the second charge of provoking Australia batsman David Warner when he screamed in Warner’s face after dismissing him in the second innings.

The South African team is considering whether to appeal Rabada’s ban. It has 48 hours to decide on a possible appeal, the team said, although captain Faf du Plessis admitted he was not confident an appeal would be successful.

The punishment for Rabada, one of the most exciting young bowlers in cricket and recently ranked No. 1 in contests, is the latest in a series of disciplinary problems for him over the last 12 months.

The 22-year-old Rabada was banned for one contest in England last year, and also received disciplinary demerit points for over-the-top celebrations in games against Sri Lanka and India. Those demerit points added to the points he received for the Smith incident in Port Elizabeth, meaning he reached a threshold and was banned.

“I take no pleasure in seeing a player suspended, particularly a young player of Kagiso’s talent, but he has now breached the ICC code of conduct on a number of occasions,” match referee Jeff Crowe of New Zealand said.