The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday cleared South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada to play international cricket with immediate effect. Rabada will be available for selection for the Cape Town Test against Australia. Rabada was found guilty of misconduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game, an offence under Article 2.1.1 of the Code. However, the bowler was found not guilty of the charge of making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a player following a hearing.
ICC has imposed a fine of 25 per cent of his match fee and one demerit point. This brings the player's demerit points to a cumulated total of 7 and he is free to play with immediate effect.
"The key issue is whether Mr Rabada made 'inappropriate and deliberate physical contact' with Mr Smith. I am not 'comfortably satisfied' that Mr Rabada intended to make contact and I therefore find him not guilty of the charge under 2.2.7," Judicial Commissioner Michael Heron said.
Heron QC of New Zealand was appointed as the Judicial Commissioner for the hearing.
"I am entitled, however, to consider whether the conduct involved constitutes a lower level offence. I consider the conduct was inappropriate, lacked respect for his fellow player and involved non-deliberate and minor contact. The actions contravened the principle that a dismissed batsman should be left alone.
"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," Heron stated.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: "The ICC wholly accepts today's decision and I would like to thank Mr. Heron for overseeing the hearing in a short time frame before the next Test starts in South Africa.
"This is perhaps an opportune moment to remind all players of their responsibilities to maintaining a standard of behaviour which sets a good example to players at all levels of the game, especially the young players. We want to see the game played with skill, passion and respect for the opposition, the match officials and the laws."