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April 24, 2018
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Kagiso Rabada cleared to play third Australia Test after ICC overturns banSA fast bowler still cops a fine of 25% of his match fee and a demerit point

South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada will play the third Test against Australia after all at Cape Town, after the ICC on Tuesday overturned the two-match banimposed on him for making physical contact with Australia captain Steve Smith during the second Test.

However, Rabada was found guilty of conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game, an offence under Article 2.1.1 of the Code of Conduct. Right Honourable Michael Heron QC imposed a fine of 25% of Rabada’s match fee and one demerit point. This brings Rabada’s demerit points to a cumulated total of seven and therefore he is free to play with immediate effect.

“The key issue is whether Mr. Rabada made ‘inappropriate and deliberate physical contact’ with Mr Smith,” Mr. Heron was quoted in an ICC media release. “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.”

Rabada, who brushed Smith’s shoulder after dismissing him during the Port Elizabeth Test and celebrated the wicket in an animated manner coming close to Smith’s face, was found guilty of a Level 2 offence. That would have kept Rabada out for the rest of the Test series, but he later appealed the punishment.