Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada

Kagiso Rabada has been the flavour of the month everywhere he goes — except in the match referee’s office at Newlands.

And that could affect his availability for SA in what will be their busiest campaign in years.

On Tuesday the fast bowler was fined half his match fee and docked three demerit points for an altercation with Sri Lankan opening batsman Niroshan Dickwella during the fourth one-day international.

The players collided at the nonstriker’s end during the 12th over of the Lankan innings‚ which can happen in cricket’s hurly-burly.

But match referee Richie Richardson took a dim view and‚ in the words of an International Cricket Council release on Wednesday‚ deemed the contact "avoidable".

That put Rabada and Dickwella on the wrong side of the code of conduct‚ which prohibits "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a player‚ player support personnel‚ umpire‚ match referee or any other person (including a spectator) in the course of play during an international match".

The fine is neither here nor there‚ but for the next 24 months Rabada will be only one demerit point away from earning a ban.

A similar Sword of Damocles hangs over Test captain Faf du Plessis in the wake of November’s ball-tampering scandal.

SA can ill afford to be without either Rabada or Du Plessis in the next 13 months‚ when they will play Test series against England‚ India and Australia as well as in the Champions Trophy.

TMG Digital/TMG Sport

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