Kagiso Rabada has been banned for the last Test of South Africa’s series against England. The fast bowler was punished for what was deemed an overly aggressive celebration after he dismissed Joe Root on the first day of the third Test at St George’s Park on Thursday.
Rabada roared in triumph after he pegged back the England captain’s off stump. He did not attempt to confront the departing Root, but the pair were uncomfortably close to each other in the aftermath.
But Rabada had gone into the match with three active demerit points, and the addition of the fourth triggers his removal from the equation for the match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg, which starts next Friday.
Rabada was in similar trouble in March 2018, when he collided with Steve Smith in the throes of his reaction to trapping the Australian in front. One of South Africa’s most prominent senior counsels, Dali Mpofu, was enlisted to argue Rabada’s appeal, which was successful and saw his sentence reduced from three demerit points – which would have taken him to eight points and prompted a two-Test ban – to one. This time there will be no reprieve because level one offenses are not subject to appeals.
Rabada’s supporters will say he has been unfairly dealt with, but he would have escaped a ban if he did not have three points hanging over him from previous incidents in the past 24 months. In February 2018 he was punished for a send-off of Shikhar Dhawan, and in the same match as the Smith incident – that demerit point remains active – he was also nailed for sending David Warner on his way in an unseemly manner. All four of Rabada’s current demerit points have been earned at St George’s Park.
Rabada is the series’ leading wicket-taker with 14 strikes, and his absence at the Wanderers will significantly impact South Africa’s chances. He is also the only black African who has featured in the rubber so far. In terms of their selection policies, South Africa should include two black Africans among six players of color in every XI.