Kagiso Rabada was criticised by former West Indies fast bowling great Michael Holding and ex-England batsman Kevin Pietersen on Friday amid heated debate over the decision to ban him from the fourth and final Test against England.
The South Africa fast bowler 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.
He was fined 15 percent of his match fee and handed one demerit point. As it was his fourth demerit point in a 24-month period he incurred an automatic one-match ban, ruling him out of next week’s fourth Test in Johannesburg.
“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.”
After bowling Root, Rabada charged down the pitch before celebrating with fists clenched almost within touching distance of the England captain.
Rabada pleaded guilty to “using language, actions or gestures which disparage or could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batter upon his or her dismissal”.
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 Rabada had behaved in a similar way after dismissing Zak Crawley during the second Test in Cape Town.
“I feel sorry for (South African captain) Faf du Plessis and (coach) Mark Boucher,” said Pietersen.
“South Africa are going to miss their strike bowler at the Wanderers.”
However, former England captain Nasser Hussain defended Rabada.
“Cricket has shot itself in the foot,” Hussain told Sky Sports.
“Was there any physical contact? Was there any sledging? A bowler showed some emotion.
“I don’t think he made a mistake yesterday. He was foolish for someone on three demerit points to do that. I think we’re sanitising the game if we can’t have anything like that.”
He said fans who had bought tickets to see Rabada bowl in the fourth Test would feal cheated.
Another ex-England skipper Michael Vaughan also backed the South African bowler.
“Rabada getting a one game ban for celebrating taking the wicket of the opponents best player is absolutely bonkers…” he tweeted.
“Over rates & slow play nothing gets done … Celebrate a wicket and you are banned … The World is bloody nuts …” AFP