'Smart' Rabada has learnt his lesson

Kagiso Rabada (Gallo)
Kagiso Rabada (Gallo)

Cape Town - The third Test at Newlands this week has received a massive injection of added spice following the news that Kagiso Rabada's appeal against a two-Test ban was successful. 

With the ICC lessening his punishment from a Level 2 charge to a Level 1 following his brushing of shoulders with Australian skipper Steve Smith in Port Elizabeth, Rabada copped one demerit point instead of three. 

That took him below the eight-point threshold that had seen him suspended. 

Rabada, though, is not completely in the clear. 

He remains on seven demerit points, meaning that he is now one more infringement away from being suspended for two Tests. 

According to Proteas coach Ottis Gibson, though, there is no need to worry. 

Gibson acknowledged the possibility that the Australians could look to get under Rabada's skin in Cape Town and force him into making a mistake that could get him into trouble, but the West Indian believes that the 22-year-old has learnt his lesson over the last two weeks. 

"He’s a smart kid and I’m sure he’s learnt his lesson from what happened last week. I don’t think he will make the same mistake again," Gibson said.

"In all the stuff that he did there was no aggressive intent other than celebrating a wicket. We’ve made him aware of the batsman’s space and where his space needs to be."

Rabada is the leading wicket-taker in the series so far with 15, thanks largely to his 11/150 in PE. 

He is also the No 1 ranked bowler in Test cricket, and his return means that Morne Morkel is likely to miss out again. 

Morkel has announced that he will be retiring from international cricket at the end of the Australian series, and with only two Tests remaining we may have seen him in Proteas colours for the last time.

"Him (Rabada) being available simplifies a lot of things for us … he’s the best bowler in the world," Gibson confirmed.

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