Suspended Kagiso Rabada assumes No. 1 bowlers' ranking

Marie Harrington
March 15, 2018

After claiming player-of-the-match honours in South Africa's series-levelling six-wicket win over Australia in Port Elizabeth - where he took 11-150 - Rabada soared back to the top of the ICC rankings for Test bowlers.

A major problem for South Africa is that Rabada, the team's No. 1 strike bowler, may be banned for those decisive last two tests after he was charged with misconduct for bumping into Australia captain Steve Smith after getting him out in the first innings in Port Elizabeth.

Given that Rabada took 11 wickets in the second Test and is an instrumental part of the Test team, Cricket South Africa are seeking legal advice over whether they should lodge an appeal. On the other hand, New Zealand could overtake Australia to third position if they win their series and Australia go on to lose 3-1to South Africa.

Banned South African paceman Kagiso Rabada has gone top of test cricket's bowling rankings a day after he was suspended from the rest of their series against Australia. A year ago he was found guilty of deliberate physical contact with Sri Lanka's Niroshan Dickwella and was given three demerit points.

As a result of the incidents, Rabada was fined 65 percent of his match fee and handed four demerit points. They called me Braveheart, etc etc. That brought him a further 15% match fee fine and one demerit point, making it a total of nine demerit points and a total fine of 65% of his match fee.

The contact (between Rabada and Smith) was very minimal, it was a shirt flick of two players and you would get one or two demerit points as a slap on the wrist because it wasn't full body contact.

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You really just never know.

Before the verdict was announced, a remorseful Rabada said: "It's going to have to stop".

I'm in the camp of the at least partially neutral Kevin Pietersen: "It's Test cricket".

And, with the series moving to Cape Town on March 22, where there hasn't been significant rainfall for three years, it's hard to imagine the heavens intervening either. Nathan Lyon found guilty of level-one offence of "conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game", having dropped the ball near dismissed batsman AB de Villiers after completing a run out.

Those are the odds on the 2-2 series draw, which is understandably the bookies' favourite after two matches of vastly fluctuating fortunes. In the batsmen's list, there has been no change with Steve Smith perched at the top while Indian captain Virat Kohli in second position. Anticipating the ban, he said, "I would have loved to be playing in the next game, especially coming off a performance like that. If I did it deliberately then I wouldn't have contested". "Honestly, I didn't feel contact in that moment".

Whether caught behind or low or on three occasions even directly bowled, there can be no doubt that this is a direct strategy of Rabada himself, if not the entire team and management as well.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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