Cricket Expert & Columnist
Kagiso Rabada's ban for fourth Test against England proves he's a slow learner
'As a batter 'I tell you what, if any batsman got close to me like that he might not have an ankle' - Kevin Pietersen
Last Updated: 17/01/20 1:38pm
South Africa's Kagiso Rabada may be a superstar but he's also a slow learner, says Mike Atherton, after the paceman was banned for the fourth Test against England.
Rabada will miss next week's Sky Live Test at Johannesburg after his celebration of Joe Root's wicket on day one of the third Test in Port Elizabeth fell foul of match referee Andy Pycroft.
The bowler was subsequently charged with a level one breach of the International Cricket Council's disciplinary code relating to "using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batter upon his or her dismissal during an international match".
Rabada was fined 15 per cent of his match fee but more importantly picked up a demerit point - taking his tally to the threshold of four in a two-year period.
Rabada's previous offences
|Match||Player involved||Offence||Penalty||Demerit Points|
|SA vs India, fifth ODI, Feb 2018||Shikhar Dhawan||Using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batsman upon his/her dismissal during an International Match.||Fine of 15% of Match Fee||1|
|SA vs Australia, 2nd Test, March 2018||Steve Smith||Conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game.||Fine of 25% of Match Fee (after appeal)||1|
|SA v Australia, 2nd Test, March 2018||David Warner||Using language, actions or gestures which disparage or which could provoke an aggressive reaction from a batsman upon his/her dismissal during an International Match.||Fine of 15% of Match Fee||1|
Sky Sports pundits Atherton and Michael Holding say Rabada only has himself to blame, while Kevin Pietersen says the bowler shouldn't be a batsman's personal space.
"First of all, I'm very sad that Rabada is not going to be playing in Johannesburg, which could be a critical Test match on possibly the fastest pitch in the country. He's a superstar cricketer so it's not good for the game.
"There are two issues. One is the current ICC regulations and Rabada has no complaints under the current ICC regulations. He's a slow learner because he's done it before.
"But I don't have a problem with that celebration. He's not swearing at the batsman, he's not abusing the batsman. It's a little over-zealous and it's a little close to Joe Root but is that worthy of a demerit point and a subsequent ban? I don't think so.
"I reiterate, though, that under the current ICC regulations - Andy Pycroft has acted according to the regulations.
"You've got to allow players some leeway. It's baking hot and Rabada is charging in!"
"I agree with a lot that Athers has said as far as ICC regulations are concerned. But I also agree with what he said about Rabada being a slow learner.
"You've got to understand the conditions under which you are planning. I like to use analogies and if you are driving on the road and the speed limit is 30mph, whether you are in a school zone or on the highway, you still have to abide by what the speed limit is.
"If you want to go over the speed limit but if you get caught, then don't complain.
"As a player you know the playing conditions and the conditions under which the ICC have put down their code of contact. Do not abuse it. Rabada has to learn. He can't keep on making the same mistake."
"Have a look at the dismissal of Zak Crawley in the second Test and look at the aggression of Rabada. Now I'm cool with aggression but he virtually jumps into Crawley in the popping crease, in the batsman's personal space.
"I watched that and thought to myself as a batter 'I tell you what, if any batsman got close to me like that he might not have an ankle.
"Then you have a look at the Root dismissal and Rabada is right in his personal space. The people I actually feel sorry for with the ban are Faf du Plessis, the captain, Mark Boucher and the rest of the South Africa players because they are going to miss their strike bowler at the Wanderers and it's unnecessary.
"Rabada has accumulated the points and accepted the guilt - he knows he's done something wrong. A lot of people are saying the ICC are wrong; they are not. He's accumulated the points. He should learn from his mistakes."
"I am going to the Wanderers slightly less looking forward to it because one of the world's great bowlers won't be bowling there.
"I would say the game has kicked itself today. I don't agree with the decision. I want Kagiso Rabada playing at the Wanderers and from what I saw yesterday I don't think that merited a demerit point.
"What did he do wrong yesterday? Was there any physical contact? Was there any sledging? We sit in air-conditioned rooms and have this righteous, holier-than-thou attitude. I think we forget what it's like out there in the heat of battle.
"If Jos Buttler, the calmest bloke on the planet, can stand behind the stumps and swear four times at Vernon Philander you know the emotions of a game of cricket."
Live coverage of the third Test between South Africa and England continues on Sky Sports Cricket and across Sky's digital platforms.