New Delhi: South Africa pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada has been cleared to play in the remainder of Test series with immediate effect by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as the 22-year-old has been found not guilty of the charge of making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a player following a hearing before the Right Honourable Michael Heron QC on Monday.Also Read - T20 World Cup: Virat Kohli-Led Team India to Play Warm-up Games Against England, Australia in October
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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, for which Heron imposed a sanction of a fine of 25% of his match fee and one demerit point, which means Rabada’s three demerit point penalty from the original charge has been erased and replaced with one demerit point, taking his total to seven and allowing him to continue to play in the rest of the series. Also Read - Shoaib Akhtar Recalls Sledging Incident With Mathew Hayden, Says Australian Opener Started Crying After Failing to Perform
In his summary, Heron outlined his findings:
“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 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.
“I consider a penalty of the imposition of a fine of 25% of the applicable match fee to be the appropriate penalty for the breach of Article 2.1.1. As a consequence, 1 demerit point accrues. Mr. Rabada will be well aware of the consequences of any further breaches of the code.”
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said, “The ICC wholly accepts today’s decision and I would like to thank Mr. Heron for overseeing the hearing in a short time frame before the next Test starts in South Africa.
“This is perhaps an opportune moment to remind all players of their responsibilities to maintain a standard of behaviour which sets a good example to players at all levels of the game, especially the young players. We want to see the game played with skill, passion and respect for the opposition, the match officials and the laws.”
meanwhile, the four-match Test series is currently tied at 1-1 as Australia won the first Test, while South Africa won the second. The third and fourth Test of the series will be played from March 22 and March 30 respectively.