South Africa v England Tests - Men's
Proteas 'concern' at ICC rules after Rabada banned again
South Africa coach Mark Boucher questions ICC code of conduct process after serial offender Kagiso Rabada banned for Jo'burg Test
18 January 2020, 08:44 AM AEST
South Africa coach Mark Boucher said he was "concerned" about cricket's disciplinary regulations after fast bowler Kagiso Rabada's enthusiastic wicket celebration saw him banned for the fourth and final Test against England in Johannesburg next week.
"I am concerned, to be honest," said Boucher. "You don't want to take all the aggression out of the game. You've got two countries playing against each other in a heated situation. Guys are trying really hard."
But Boucher acknowledged that Rabada should have been more aware that previous transgressions put him in danger of a ban.
Rabada pleaded guilty to a level one breach of the International Cricket Council's code of conduct because of the way he celebrated the dismissal of England captain Joe Root during the first day of the third Test at St George's Park on Thursday.
Rabada bowled Root for 27 with a delivery that kept low and cannoned into off stump. He was then mobbed by his teammates as he screamed in celebration right next to Root as the England captain began his walk off the ground.
Rabada was fined 15 percent of his match fee and handed one demerit point. Because it was his fourth demerit point in a 24-month period he incurred an automatic one-match ban.
"Level one is almost like a slap on the wrist but because of the demerit points unfortunately he won't be playing in the next Test," said Boucher.
"Sometimes the emotions overflow so the rules and regulations are a little disappointing but if you know the rules and regulations you’ve got to stick to them.
"KG (Rabada) knows what he can and cannot do and he maybe pushed a little far."
It's the second time the 24-year-old has been suspended for a Test match for disciplinary reasons.
He missed the Trent Bridge Test on South Africa's 2017 Test tour of England having been penalised for incidents against Sri Lanka in February 2017 and the preceding Test at Lord's.
Rabada entered the current Test series against England with three demerit points on his record in the past 24 months.
He received one demerit point for a send-off of India opener Shikhar Dhawan in the fifth ODI in Port Elizabeth in February 2018.
A month later, he was charged with making deliberate and inappropriate contact with Steve Smith during the second Test, again at Port Elizabeth, but successfully overturned that charge on appeal. Instead, he was found guilty of conduct contrary to the spirit of the game and given one demerit point.
Finally, in the same Test, he was handed another demerit point for a send-off of Australia opener David Warner.
Boucher said losing Rabada was a "massive blow" for a South Africa side in danger of falling 2-1 behind in the series after closing day two in Port Elizabeth on 2-60 in reply to England's 9-499 declared.
He said it was an issue that needed to be addressed.
"I think KG probably bowls at his best when he is nice and aggressive so it's trying to find a balance of keeping him aggressive and not boxing him in, but also understanding the laws of the game and trying to keep him on the good side of it," Boucher said.
"It is going to be tough but it is something we are going to have to address and get a very good balance."
Boucher said the game had changed since he stopped playing in 2012.
"In my day we didn't have to deal with this sort of stuff because we could say pretty much what we wanted and get away with it. It's a learning curve for me with all these new rules and regulations."
Former England captain Mike Atherton acknowledged that Rabada does have priors, but added he did not have a problem with the actions of the Proteas quick on Thursday.
"It's a fundamental point that we can’t ignore; he's a very slow learner," Atherton said.
"He's got previous. It’s not a ban based on what happened yesterday but an accumulation of errors.
"But I don’t have a problem with that celebration. He’s not swearing at the batsman, he's not abusing the batsman."
Rabada was criticised by former West Indian fast bowler Michael Holding and former England batsman Kevin Pietersen but the ban was slammed by ex-England captains Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan.
Holding and Pietersen said Rabada had let his team down by being a repeat disciplinary offender.
"He has to learn," said Holding, who was commentating for SuperSport television.
"You can't keep making the same mistakes. He has to remember he is damaging his team. South Africa without Rabada at the Wanderers – that's a big blow."
Fellow commentator Pietersen said the way Rabada got close to batsmen after dismissing them was unacceptable.
"He shouldn't be celebrating in a batsman's personal space," he said, adding that Rabada had behaved in a similar way after dismissing Zak Crawley during the second Test in Cape Town.
Context .. 33 degree heat.. high humidity.. flat pitch ... not given new ball .. gets England captain .. best ball of the day ... shows a bit too much emotion. Result Wanderers test will be poorer for no Rabada .. ps I know he has previous !— Nasser Hussain (@nassercricket) January 17, 2020
Rabada getting a 1 game ban for celebrating taking the Wicket of the opponents best player is absolutely bonkers ... Over rates & slow play nothing gets done ... Celebrate a wicked and you are banned ... The World is bloody nuts ... #SAvENG— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 17, 2020
"I feel sorry for (South African captain) Faf du Plessis and Mark Boucher," said Pietersen. "South Africa are going to miss their strike bowler at the Wanderers."
But Vaughan said on Twitter that Rabada being banned for a celebration was "absolutely bonkers" when nothing was done about slow over rates, while Hussain said on Sky television that "the game has kicked itself today".
Kagiso Rabada's Code of Conduct charges
Feb 2017: Inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with Sri Lanka's Niroshan Dickwella. Three demerit points and fined 50 per cent of match fee.
July 2017: Used inappropriate language after dismissing England allrounder Ben Stokes. One demerit point and fined 15 per cent of match fee. Suspended for one Test.
Feb 2018: Using language which could provoke an aggressive reaction from another player in send-off of India batsman Shikhar Dhawan. One demerit point and fined 15 per cent of match fee.
Mar 2018: Level one charge for conduct contrary to the spirit of the game after send-off of Steve Smith. One demerit point and 25 per cent of match fee.
Mar 2018: Level one charge for send-off of David Warner. One demerit point and 15 per cent of match fee.
Jan 2020: Using language which could provoke an aggressive reaction from another player in send-off of England captain Joe Root. One demerit point and fined 15 per cent of match fee. Suspended for one Test.