Kagiso Rabada is in danger of missing the last two Tests of the ongoing series between South Africa and Australia after he was hit with a level two charge by match referee Jeff Crowe. Rabada made shoulder contact with Steve Smith after dismissing the Australia captain during the opening day of the second Test.
Article 42.3.1 of the players code of conduct cites “making inappropriate and deliberate contact with another player” as a level two offence, which carries a sanction of a fine and either three or four demerit points. Rabada is currently on five demerit points, and should he be found guilty of the level two breach, he would reach the eight-point mark that triggers a two-Test ban.
Rabada has confirmed that he will contest the charge on the basis that the contact was accidental. He will face a hearing after the third day’s play at St George’s Park, with umpire Chris Gaffaney’s absence on day two due to illness forcing the hearing to be delayed. Privately Rabada has insisted that he was running towards AB de Villiers in the slips – because de Villiers had predicted that Rabada would take Smith’s wicket – at the time of the incident.
However the ICC take a dim view of any form of physical contact, and Rabada also has a record in this regard. Last February he made what the ICC judged to be “avoidable contact” with Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dickwella during a one-day international match. Both players were sanctioned, with Rabada picking up three demerit points.
The fast bowler subsequently served a one-Test ban during South Africa’s series in England after he was caught using foul language in the wake of his dismissal of Ben Stokes. That incident earned him one demerit point, which took him to four overall – the point at which players are banned for either one Test or two ODIs.