BREAKING: Kagiso Rabada cleared to play third Test

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    Independent commissioner Michael Heron has overturned Kagiso Rabada’s two-Test ban, clearing South Africa’s spearhead to play the rest of the series against Australia.

    South African barrister Dali Mpofu successfully argued at Monday’s six-hour hearing that the express paceman did not deliberately make contact with Steve Smith’s shoulder during a send-off that marred the second Test.

    Rabada had his level-two charge of making “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact”, which had resulted in three demerit points that triggered a two-Test suspension, thrown out.

    Heron instead found the world’s top-ranked Test bowler guilty of a minor level-one charge of conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game, issuing a single demerit point and fine of 25 per cent of his match fee.

    The reprieve is a significant boost for the Proteas’ bid for their first home Test series win over Australia since the fall of apartheid.

    It means the 22-year-old will retain his place in South Africa’s XI for the third Test, which starts in Cape Town on Thursday.

    The series is currently level at 1-1 after Rabada bowled his team to victory in Port Elizabeth, putting on a reverse-swing masterclass while snaring incredible figures of 11-150.

    It also sets the stage for another fiery encounter between the rivals. Rabada, who was booked for two send-offs in Port Elizabeth, now has seven demerit points on his rap sheet and any further charge will trigger a two-Test ban.

    Smith last month floated the idea of trying to provoke Rabada and it wouldn’t surprise if that transpires at Newlands later this week.

    “It could perhaps be a plan to try and get him fired up,” Smith said at the time.

    “You never know what some guys do when they’re fired up.”

    Heron’s verdict was somewhat of a surprise given Rabada told reporters last week he takes “responsibility for what happened” and needs to stop “letting the team down”.

    “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,” Heron said in a statement.

    “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 will be well aware of the consequences of any further breaches of the code.”

    The ruling, which has been accepted by the International Cricket Council, will trigger more debate about the consistency of the sport’s disciplinary system and how best to improve on-field behaviour.

    Former England captain Michael Vaughan said on Twitter that common sense had prevailed.

    “This is perhaps an opportune moment to remind all players of their responsibilities to maintaining a standard of behaviour,” ICC chief executive David Richardson said in a statement.

    Rabada was late to the Proteas’ training session on Monday because of the hearing but will now have a standard lead-up to the third Test.

    Australia opener Cameron Bancroft suggested on Monday that Australia had been preparing to face Rabada.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (210)

    • March 20th 2018 @ 7:10pm
      danwain said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:10pm | ! Report

      This is truly astounding and opens up a very dangerous precedent. If it was an Australian who got off this charge the uproar would be deafening.

      • March 20th 2018 @ 7:15pm
        Neil said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:15pm | ! Report

        Or maybe, you know, he wasn’t actually guilty. Which is a good precedent to set, not punishing innocent people.

        • March 20th 2018 @ 7:18pm
          danwain said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:18pm | ! Report

          Of course he wasn’t, it is pretty clear the South Africans are never guilty

          • March 20th 2018 @ 7:21pm
            Neil said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:21pm | ! Report

            Australians either, so luckily we have impartial committees and judges to make these decisions.

            • March 20th 2018 @ 7:23pm
              danwain said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:23pm | ! Report

              The Australians deservedly took all the fines they were handed in the first test and didn’t grumble about ICC conspiracies. Last i checked South Africa have fought every single charge leveled at them.

              • March 20th 2018 @ 7:24pm
                Neil said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

                It’s not our fault you don’t use the judicial processes to your advantage.

              • Roar Guru

                March 20th 2018 @ 7:24pm
                spruce moose said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

                And lost every time…until today.

                Think about it.

              • Roar Rookie

                March 20th 2018 @ 7:24pm
                Matthew Pearce said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

                And grumbled about ICC conspiracies. Twice.

                Something about Australia not being able to cop it, right?

          • Roar Guru

            March 20th 2018 @ 7:23pm
            spruce moose said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:23pm | ! Report

            Garbage Danwain.

            Until today, South Africa had never successfully appealed a charge.

            • March 20th 2018 @ 7:31pm
              danwain said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:31pm | ! Report

              Point taken, my mistake!

              • March 21st 2018 @ 7:27am
                Mike said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:27am | ! Report

                Use the judicial process, to your advantage, Mmmmmm has a lot to do with sportsmanship, I guess..

      • March 20th 2018 @ 7:15pm
        sheek said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:15pm | ! Report

        Not really. Apparently there was an even uglier incident in a T20 game between Sri Lanka & Bangladesh, with players nearly coming to blows.

        The offenders basically got a slap across the wrist. Consequently, Rabada’s chances of playing improved significantly.

        I’m convinced someone is going to completely lose their cool in the next two tests. This is far from over & likely to get worse. Both teams have some morons in their ranks.

        • Columnist

          March 21st 2018 @ 1:58am
          David Lord said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:58am | ! Report

          sheek, the ICC now has a major problem as the governing body employs both the Test match referee Jeff Crowe, and the Independent Commissioner Michael Heron – both Kiwis.

          Crowe handed down a two-match suspension to firebrand Kagiso Rabada, but on appeak Heron, one of New Zealand’s leading QCs, overturned the decision.

          So who does the ICC sack, both can’t be right?

          • Roar Rookie

            March 21st 2018 @ 4:04am
            El Loco said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:04am | ! Report

            They won’t sack anyone, what an odd question.

            Assuming due process was followed the ICC will say “thank you gents, job well done”.

          • March 21st 2018 @ 12:02pm
            Jacko said | March 21st 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

            David thats silly…Who do they sack when an Umpire gives a not out and its reviewed and seen to be out. 1 has to be wrong.
            However I do believe Crowe has his “buddies” in world cricket and he needs to be told…get it right or go…

      • Roar Rookie

        March 20th 2018 @ 7:22pm
        savage said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:22pm | ! Report

        LOL

      • March 20th 2018 @ 8:47pm
        BrainsTrust said | March 20th 2018 @ 8:47pm | ! Report

        Well there was the case the umpire charged Johnson and Stokes over some shoulder contact in the previous Aussie Ashes to the recent one, and they were cleared. Can;t remember any media coverage of it let alone an uproar that was defeaning.
        The weirdest thing about this whole affair is the match referee was Jeff Crowe who cleared them and ruled the contact accidental. Now I would like to see a replay of that incident.

      • March 20th 2018 @ 10:17pm
        Vic said | March 20th 2018 @ 10:17pm | ! Report

        Yes, yes , the Kiwi adjudicator is just hating on Aus. Lol. Game on

      • March 20th 2018 @ 10:19pm
        Ernst Blofeld said | March 20th 2018 @ 10:19pm | ! Report

        Sadly, I am not surprised.

        We are talking about the ICC here and you only have to see how they drop the ball catching all the corruption in cricket which is plain to see for most observers. They have allowed test cricket to die and these private cricket leagues to go over the top of them.

        Expect someone to be hit by either fist, bat or ball sooner or later.

        Mind you if I was the Aussies now I would be really firing up the comments on field against the Boks. You want to get this Rabada bloke tossed for life.

        • March 21st 2018 @ 1:15am
          ADP said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:15am | ! Report

          You rail against the ICC and your solution is to conspire to get the player who benefitted from their decision “tossed for life”. Not really going to solve your problem is it? Little less emotion and a little more thought will serve you well.

        • March 21st 2018 @ 12:04pm
          Jacko said | March 21st 2018 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

          EB Warner is near suspension levels of points too so be careful what you wish for

      • March 21st 2018 @ 1:18am
        Brasstax said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:18am | ! Report

        This has to be the most nonsensical comment ever made on this website.

        Also please enlighten us on the different ways the Indians were responsible for our loss in the second test.

        If anything, as Ronan’s earlier article pointed out the Indians did us a huge favor by softening up the proteas by smacking them around in all 3 formats starting with the Wanderers test.

      • March 21st 2018 @ 1:36am
        ADP said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:36am | ! Report

        You want to put people in hospital to show your displeasure with a governing body/system? How are you different from a someone who sends suicide bombers to blow people up? Left leaning indeed…

    • March 20th 2018 @ 7:16pm
      Jake said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:16pm | ! Report

      What a load.

    • Roar Guru

      March 20th 2018 @ 7:17pm
      Charging Rhino said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:17pm | ! Report

      BOOM !!!
      Wonderful news.
      He better behave now as I’m sure his teammates have told him that he just needs to restrain himself from doing those little extras at dismissals which all start to add up over a year or two.

      • March 20th 2018 @ 9:47pm
        JoM said | March 20th 2018 @ 9:47pm | ! Report

        He is back to 7 points which is 1 point away from a 2 test suspension

        • Roar Guru

          March 20th 2018 @ 10:13pm
          Charging Rhino said | March 20th 2018 @ 10:13pm | ! Report

          No you don’t say???? 😜😁🤙

          • March 20th 2018 @ 10:31pm
            Nudge said | March 20th 2018 @ 10:31pm | ! Report

            I didn’t actually read the article so thanks Jo, I didn’t know that. Not sure why Charging R had to be a smart ar$e
            The big loser out of this is Morkel. He’s more than likely played his last test now. Sad way for a really good bowler to finish. 7 wickets short of 300 and finishing his career being dropped.

            • Roar Guru

              March 20th 2018 @ 11:01pm
              Charging Rhino said | March 20th 2018 @ 11:01pm | ! Report

              Smart ar$e Nudge? No mate apologies if I came across the wrong way as I felt that JoM was stating the obvious just to be silly.
              If you’ve followed this it’s as well known knowledge that KG went up to 9 demerit points, 8 is the threshold and the lowering of the demerit point from 3 to 1 means he is now on 7. 1 demerit point away from a suspension during a 24 month cycle.

              I humbly apologise if this was not clear as day to anyone else who is interested in the outcome of this incident and Test series in general.

              All the best 🙂

              • March 20th 2018 @ 11:11pm
                Nudge said | March 20th 2018 @ 11:11pm | ! Report

                All good. I have been following the case but had only read that he was free to play. I just assumed that he was found not guilty with the Smith incident which then would have lowered his points to 6. If it was only 6 he would then have had 1 spare point to scream in someone’s face without getting suspended.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 6:41am
                JoM said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:41am | ! Report

                No I wasn’t stating it to be silly at all, but thanks for the compliment

    • March 20th 2018 @ 7:21pm
      Christo the Daddyo said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:21pm | ! Report

      Beggars belief.

      Next Test will be a free for all. And the administrators will have nobody to blame but themselves.

      Weak.

      • March 20th 2018 @ 7:41pm
        Cantab said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

        Settle down champ, it will be okay.

      • March 20th 2018 @ 9:49pm
        JoM said | March 20th 2018 @ 9:49pm | ! Report

        I actually agree with you. Must be great for the bowlers to know they can get so close to screech in the batsman’s face that they accidentally touch them and there will be no penalty at the end of it, or will there be because it is the Australian team.

    • March 20th 2018 @ 7:24pm
      Mal said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

      The ICC has shown it has no backbone whatsoever. Cue more screaming in the face and maybe a good old fashioned hip and shoulder for departing batsman.

    • March 20th 2018 @ 7:24pm
      TC123 said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

      And let the whinging begin…

      • March 20th 2018 @ 7:58pm
        JN said | March 20th 2018 @ 7:58pm | ! Report

        No, the whinging from SA commenced when he was originally suspended. Hopefully it stops now……

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