Rabada to appeal guilty verdict and keep series hopes alive
By Nick Said
CAPE TOWN, March 14 (Reuters) - Kagiso Rabada is appealing the guilty verdict handed to him by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for breaching their code of conduct in a last-ditch bid to be able to play in the rest of the gripping test series against Australia.
Fast bowler Rabada was found guilty of "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a player" after leaning with his shoulder into Steve Smith when he dismissed the Australia captain in the first innings of South Africa's six wicket win in the second test in Port Elizabeth. The result levelled the four-match series at 1-1.
The 22-year-old, who took 11-150 in the game, was fined 50 percent of his match fee and given three demerit points, which took him past the tally of eight that triggers an automatic two-game suspension.
"ICC confirms that Kagiso Rabada has appealed against the level two breach following the incident with Steve Smith during the Port Elizabeth Test. ICC will now appoint a Judicial Commissioner at the earliest opportunity and hearing details will be confirmed in due course," the governing body said on Wednesday.
The ICC have 48 hours to appoint a commissioner and a hearing will be heard within a seven day period. Rabada will remain suspended unless the commissioner takes a decision to allow him to play in the third test in Cape Town starting on March 22.
Although there was contact made with Smith, Rabada maintains that it was accidental and at the time he was not even aware he had brushed against his opponent.
"If I knew I did it deliberately, I wouldn't have gone to contest (the charge)," Rabada told reporters after the game. "I didn't even feel contact in that moment because I was so pumped up."
Smith has suggested the Australian team wanted Rabada to play the remainder of the series as the seamer rose to the top of the test bowling rankings following his performance in Port Elizabeth.
"He's a world class bowler and you always want to come up against the best, that's for sure," Smith said. "He's right up there. He's unbelievable the way he's been bowling.
"If he's there, he's there... if he's not, he's not. It's our job to try and play some better cricket."
Rabada is the fifth player to be punished by the ICC in what has been a tempestuous test series so far along with Australians David Warner, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Marsh, and South African Quinton de Kock. (Reporting Editing by Christian Radnedge)