South Africa bowler Kagiso Rabada has been found not guilty of the charge of making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a player, following a hearing before Michael Heron yesterday, the ICC said in a press release on Tuesday.
Though he was found guilty of conduct "contrary to the spirit of the game" and a sanction – a fine of 25 percent of his match fee and one demerit point – was imposed, Rabada is free to play with immediate effect, which looks set to be the third Test against Australia starting on Thursday.
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." - Right Honourable Michael Heron, QC
The return of Rabada will simultaneously be a massive boost for the Proteas and a nightmare for the Australians, as Rabada's 11 wickets for 150 runs in the second Test at St George's Park practically won the equaliser for the South Africans. With the four-match series now tied one-all, his next two outings as the tip of the Proteas' bowling spear could be crucial.
"KG" was reviewed for fleeting shoulder contact while pumped-up and celebrating his first-innings dismissal of Steve Smith. Australians, of course, reacted as if their skipper has suffered a dislocation; South African fans on Twitter were surprised he didn't come out for his second knock with his arm in a sling.
Proteas supporters have since taken to Twitter again in droves to express their delight at the return of Rabada, and excitement for the third Test is certain to be at fever pitch.
Well done ICC .. Common sense prevails .. #Rabada— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) March 20, 2018
I see South Africans making jokes about Steve Smith, guys it is not funny anymore the poor guy is lying on a hospital bed with a dislocated shoulder #RabadaAppeal— Vaal's Gift to the World (@DMotsapi) March 19, 2018
Kagiso Rabada cleared! 🙏🏽Amazing! Now go out there and continue to dominate Champ @KagisoRabada25 💪🏽— Thabile Ngwato (@ThabileNgwato) March 20, 2018
#RabadaAppeal Really glad to see justice prevail and Rabada free to play . Bring on the Aussies , let the game begin.— Rakesh Sadarangani (@ilovecricket24) March 20, 2018
Moyane gone, Rabada can play. Happy days!— Pieter Du Toit (@PieterDuToit) March 20, 2018