South Africa strike bowler Kagiso Rabada will miss the fourth Test in Johannesburg after being fined by umpires for his aggressive celebration of Joe Root’s wicket. Rabada followed through right next to Root after seeing his off stump knocked back whereupon he crouched down and screamed wildly with both fists clenched. Even though Rabada didn’t abuse or say anything directly to Root, it is the proximity to the batsman and nature of the celebration that left the on field umpire’s in no doubt that he had broken the ICC’s code of conduct.
In a statement the ICC said: “The South African bowler was found to have violated Article 2.5 of the code, which relates to “using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batter upon his or her dismissal during an international match. As a result Rabada was hit with a 15 percent match fee fine and a demerit point which takes his total over a 24 month period to four demerit points which triggers an automatic ban.
Rabada accepted the charge brought against him by all four umpires so no formal hearing was required. The 24-year-old has been warned more than once about his post wicket celebrations and in fact all three of his previous demerit points have come immediately after taking a wicket.
Two of them came in the bitter ‘ball-tampering’ series with Australia in March 2018 when he dismissed David Warner and Steve Smith, while the third occurred in the February when he had dismissed Shikhar Dhawan. In isolation Rabada’s celebration when he had bowled Root was hardly the worst crime on a cricket field, but his continued pushing of the line has cost his team when they may well need him most. It is a blow for Rabada, for South Africa and for the quality of an entertaining series, but it was entirely unnecessary.
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