South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has been banned for the remainder of his country’s series with Australia following his contact with Steve Smith in the second Test.
Rabada was charged with a Level 2 ICC Code of Conduct offence of “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a player”, after he made contact with Smith with his shoulder while celebrating his dismissal of the tourists’ captain on the opening day in Port Elizabeth.
Following a hearing, Rabada was fined 50 per cent of his match fee and handed three demerit points, the latter sanction prompting an automatic two-match suspension for the accumulation of eight demerit points within a 24-month period.
Rabada, the star of South Africa’s second-Test victory with 11 wickets, will therefore play no part in the third and fourth Tests as he pays the price for a succession of disciplinary transgressions.
He also accepted a second charge relating to a send-off he gave to David Warner, resulting in a further 15 per cent fine from his match fee and an additional demerit point.
Jeff Crowe, a member of the elite panel of ICC match referees, said: “I found that there was contact between Rabada and Smith, and in my judgement the contact by Rabada was inappropriate, and deliberate.
“He had the opportunity to avoid the contact, and I could not see any evidence to support the argument that the contact was accidental.
“It is also disappointing that this has happened the day after the pre-match meeting I had with both teams, where the importance of respect for opponents was highlighted.
“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.”
Crowe had addressed the two teams after Warner and Quinton de Kock clashed in the first Test in Durban, with the Australia vice-captain risking a demerit point that would bring about his own suspension.
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis had openly discussed the possibility of “enticing” Warner in Port Elizabeth.
Rabada’s ban represents a major blow to South Africa, who bounced back from losing the series-opener by winning the second Test against Australia comfortably.
Australia’s Mitchell Marsh also accepted a charge after using “obscene or offensive” language in Rabada’s direction as South Africa wrapped up victory on the fourth day.
He has been fined 20 per cent of his match fee and also handed a demerit point.