International Cricket Council’s decision to suspend South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada from one Test has drawn strong criticism from three former England captains on Saturday. The ICC had handed one-match ban to Rabada for his “inappropriate language” towards batsman Ben Stokes in the first Test at Lord’s on Friday.
Rabada received the ban after he collected a demerit point which took his point-count to four in last 24 months. His three previous demerit points were for “deliberate physical contact” against Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dickwella in February.
“It seems a nonsense to me that those two things combined have resulted in a test match ban,” Michael Atherton told Sky Sports viewers after watching film of both incidents.
“Three demerit points for that slight bit of contact with Dickwella and then yesterday when it’s hardly directed at Ben Stokes.”
“For me it’s ridiculous,” Ian Botham said. “It’s a physical game and you’re talking about heat-of-the-moment exchanges. That’s just a nudge.”
Agreeing with both Atherton and Bothm, David Gower said that it’s a very harsh punishment on Rabada from the ICC.
“It’s highlighted by the fact that those points from a previous offence mean he’s not going to be playing in the next Test match of the series. It is a very, very harsh punishment.”
Rabada will sit out of the second Test match against England after the ban. South Africa are without star bowler Dale Steyn for the complete series due to a shoulder injury. On Saturday, seamer Vernon Philander was also taken to hospital for an X-ray after being hit on the hand.