Proteas’ fast-bowling sensation Kagiso Rabada was on Tuesday morning cleared to play for South Africa with immediate effect by the International Cricket Council.
The ruling means Rabada who was the destroyer-in-chief in the Proteas’ second Test victory over the Australians will be available to torment the Aussie batsmen in the third Test starting on Thursday at Newlands in Cape Town.
Rabada, currently ranked as the No.1 bowler in Test matches, was suspended for the third and fourth Tests after being reported twice during the second test of the series in Port Elizabeth.
Represented by Advocate Dali Mpofu, Rabada appealed the level-two charge he received form match referee Jeff Crowe after making deliberate and inappropriate contact with Steve Smith following his LBW dismissal of the Australian captain.
The ICC hearing chaired by New Zealand’s Michael Heron has since cleared the young fast bowler to play with immediate effect.
However, the fast bowler was found guilty of a lesser charge of conduct contrary to the spirit of the game, which comes with a fine.
“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,” said Heron in a summary of his judgment.
The outcome has huge ramifications on the contest between the two teams, which resumes at Newlands on Thursday with the series currently hanging in the balance at 1-1.
If Rabada’s exploits in the last Test are to be replicated, his availability for selection in the next match shifts the advantage to the Proteas.
South African cricketing fans took to social media immediately after the ruling to express their gratitude over the ruling. Among them, legendry cricketing commentator Neil Manthorp was quick to congratulate Rabada’s legal team for this feat.
“I would particularly like to thank our legal team, led by Advocate Dali Mpofu and supported by the legal firm of David Becker and Associates, for the job they have done after having to accept the brief at unavoidably short notice,” commented the organisation's acting chief executive Thabang Moroe.
“We have witnessed a compelling series between two highly competitive and skilful teams that is locked 1-1 at the halfway stage and is attracting a global audience ... It is now important that everybody gets the focus back where it belongs; on the game of cricket.”