South Africa have appealed Kagiso Rabada’s level-two charge that resulted from him making physical contact with Steve Smith during the second Test.
Rabada was found guilty of “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with” Smith on day one of the game in Port Elizabeth, having brushed the Australian skipper’s shoulder during a screaming send-off.
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis publicly questioned the fairness of match referee Jeff Crowe’s ruling, which resulted in three demerit points and triggered a two-Test ban for Rabada.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) has now lodged a formal appeal, desperate for the top-ranked bowler in the world to play the rest of the four-Test series.
The International Cricket Council will now appoint a judicial commissioner within 48 hours, with a hearing to take place within the next week.
The case will overshadow the hosts’ preparation for the third Test, which starts in Cape Town on Thursday.
Rabada will remain banned from the third and fourth Tests against Australia until Crowe’s verdict is ratified or rejigged.
However, CSA is expected to attempt to convince the commissioner this is unjust and that the fired-up paceman should be free to play at Newlands.
The deck is well and truly stacked against the Proteas, who lost when they took on the game’s administrators while challenging du Plessis’ ball-tampering charge in 2016.
Rabada accepted a level-one charge resulting from his send-off of David Warner in the second Test, adding yet another demerit point to his rap sheet.
It means the spearhead will still be banned unless the Smith incident is thrown out altogether or deemed to be worth a single demerit point.
A contrite Rabada has already acknowledged he must learn to control his emotions.
“It’s going to have to stop. I can’t keep doing this because I’m letting the team down and I’m also letting myself down,” he said after a haul of 11-150 was marred by his two-Test ban.
“It’s bittersweet. I would’ve loved to have been playing the next game.
“I have to see it as a big learning curve and not repeat the same mistake.”
Du Plessis complained about the lack of consistency in cricket’s disciplinary process earlier this week, insisting Rabada did no wrong.
But even the captain had seemingly accepted an appeal would be pointless.
“Our strike rate is zero per cent at the moment with trying to challenge these cases, it will probably stay at zero,” du Plessis said.
Crowe declared earlier this week that Rabada “had the opportunity to avoid the contact”.
“I could not see any evidence to support the argument that the contact was accidental,” he said in a statement.
“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.
‘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.”