Kagiso Rabada. Picture: REUTERS
Kagiso Rabada. Picture: REUTERS

Kagiso Rabada has been banned for the last two Tests of SA’s series against Australia‚ the International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed.

But SA are considering making a last-gasp legal attempt to try to keep the fast bowler in their XI for the third Test at Newlands in Cape Town, starting on March 22.

Rabada was fined 50% of his match fee and docked three demerit points. The ICC said he had "made contact with Steve Smith with his shoulder" after dismissing the Australian captain on Friday.

Rabada contested the level two charge of "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a player" but accepted a level one rap for "using language‚ actions or gestures which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batsman upon his or her dismissal"‚ which he incurred by giving David Warner a verbal send-off on Sunday.

The latter took a further 15% of his match fee and earned another demerit point.

Players are banned for two matches when they accumulate eight demerit points‚ and Rabada went into the match with five.

"I found that there was contact between Rabada and Smith‚ and in my judgment the contact by Rabada was inappropriate and deliberate‚" the ICC media release quoted match referee Jeff Crowe as saying.

"He had the opportunity to avoid the contact‚ and I could not see any evidence to support the argument that the contact was accidental," Crowe said.

"It is also disappointing that this has happened the day after the pre-match meeting I had with both teams‚ where the importance of respect for opponents was highlighted.

"I take no pleasure in seeing a player suspended‚ particularly a young player of Kagiso’s talent‚ but he has now breached the ICC code of conduct on a number of occasions," he said.

Since February 2017, Rabada has fallen foul of the disciplinary system five times and been banned once before.

Cricket SA and Rabada have 48 hours to appeal against Crowe’s decision. The SA team management said after the ruling was handed down that it was "seeking legal counsel on what decision to make".

If an appeal is lodged‚ the team management said‚ Rabada "will still be suspended unless the judicial commissioner is appointed early and hears an argument to allow him to still compete whilst the hearing is being sorted out".

That would seem an awfully long shot.

Mitchell Marsh lost 20% of his match fee and gained a demerit point for swearing after he was dismissed by Rabada on Monday. Marsh did not contest the charge.

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