With South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada facing a Level 2 offence after being found guilty of a ICC Code of Conduct offence of ‘inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a player’ after he nudged Steve Smith on Day 1 of the second Test against Australia, skipper Faf du Plessis has slammed the ICC’s demerit system for micro-managing of players by the officials.
Speaking to reporters, the South Africa captain said that cricket is going towards being “too far on the sensitive side”. “I think we’re just going too far on the sensitive side, because every incident on the cameras is: ‘Did you see that? Did you see that? Did you see that?’ It’s Test cricket. We as a team have got no issues with the way the Australian team play their brand of cricket. It’s good for the game of Test cricket,” the 33-year old said.
The cricketer further added that the little battles in the middle will be good for the survival of Test cricket. “People talk about where is the future of Test cricket. This, for me, is an important part of Test cricket – the battles that you face. That is KG [Rabada] running in for 15 overs trying to get someone out and eventually when he gets him out, he has to show that passion. Otherwise you could just put a bowling machine and a robot to bat,” he said.
The right hand-batsman further went on to question the demerit system for treating David Warner’s staircase incident with Quinton de Kock and Rabada’s nudge on Steve Smith as similar incidents.
“The charge against KG is a level 2 with three demerit points, and the charge against Davey is a level two with three demerit points. For me, if you look at those incidents, one is brushing of the shirt, the other is a lot more aggressive. My question was: why are both these incidents labeled the same? For me they are not. 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. But that’s where I’m sitting as a player, not as an official,” he said.
Du Plessis added that the official should ensure that all the best players should be a part of the team set up in such a crucial series.
“For me it’s just about looking at the context of the series, and it’s crucial that you have the best players playing. For us it’s about proving that what KG did… they call it body contact, we would say it is a shirt being brushed or it was not deliberate. As the match referee mentioned, there are bigger things at play here, that’s why he didn’t ban Davey Warner and make it a level three offence because it’s a series between two big teams. I just asked the same question,” he said.
Rabada was charged with two demerits points after he brushed shoulders with the Australian skipper and then was subsequently hit with another demerit point for giving a send-off to David Warner on the third day of the second Test. ICC confirmed on Monday that the bowler has been banned for two Test matches and hence will not play a further part in the series. South Africa cricket board has contested the charge levelled against Rabada for the physical contact with Smith. The 4-match Test series is currently levelled at 1-1.