Rabada to play

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has been cleared to play the remainder of the Test series against Australia having won his appeal against a Level Two breach of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) code of conduct.

Rabada had his punishment for brushing against the shoulder of Australia captain Steven Smith in the second Test in Port Elizabeth reduced from a fine of 50 per cent of his match fee and three demerit points, to 25 per cent and one demerit point.

He, however, was found guilty of a lesser charge of “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game” on appeal by Judicial Commissioner Michael Heron, according to a statement from the ICC on Tuesday.

That leaves Rabada’s total of demerit points over the last 24 months on seven, one fewer than the threshold that would trigger an automatic two-match suspension. He received a demerit point for a send-off to Australian opener David Warner in the same game.

Currently the top ranked test bowler in the world, Rabada is free to play the third Test that starts in Cape Town today, with the tempestuous four-match series square at 1-1.

The 22-year-old admitted he needed to tone down his wicket celebrations in the wake of the Smith incident, but maintained that the contact with Smith was accidental and he had not intended to brush against the batsman.

Match referee Jeff Crowe believed otherwise when imposing the initial punishment, but that has now been overturned after Cricket South Africa engaged the services of high-profile local advocate Dali Mpofu to fight Rabada’s case in an appeal hearing that took place on Tuesday.

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