Smith: There was clearly contact out in the middle


Australia captain Steve Smith has criticised the decision to overturn the ban that will allow Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada to play in the third Test at Newlands, starting on Thursday.

Rabada was banned by match referee Jeff Crowe after going over the threshold of eight demerit points for brushing Smith’s shoulder when dismissing the visiting skipper in the first innings of the second Test in Port Elizabeth.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) though appealed the decision and contested the level two charge with HQ Michael Heron of New Zealand ruling in favour of the Proteas on Tuesday.

Herron deemed that the contact between Rabada and Smith was not ‘inappropriate and deliberate physical contact’ with the level two charge reduced to a level one and the paceman free to play.

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In quotes published on ESPNCricinfo, Smith said about the decision: “The ICC have set the standard, haven’t they? There was clearly contact out in the middle.

“I certainly won’t be telling my bowlers to go out there and after you take a wicket go and get in their space. I don’t think that is on and part of the game.

“I certainly think he bumped me a little bit harder than it actually looked on the footage. It didn’t bother me too much.

“I guess the emotion after you get out he’s won the battle. What’s the point of over-celebrating? And getting in the face of a batter, you’ve already won the battle.

“But they’ve obviously decided what’s deliberate contact and what’s not, and apparently it wasn’t.”

The Australia skipper also found it strange that he was not called to testify in the appeal process, especially since he was the other player involved in the incident.

Smith continued: “The other person involved not getting asked about it is pretty interesting, I thought. You still want to come up against the best players. That’s part of playing the game and Kagiso is No.1 in the world.

“It was interesting the way things played out and that he was able to get the charge brought down with an appeal.”

The series is currently level at 1-1 with the Newlands Test to be followed by a match at the Wanderers.