Australian skipper Steve Smith has slammed the International Cricket Council's (ICC) decision to overturn the two-Test ban on Kagiso Rabada that will allow the South African star bowler to play in the third Test of the four-match series against Australia, beginning at Newlands on Thursday.
The Proteas pacer was initially deemed guilty of a Level 2 breach of the ICC code of conduct by match referee Jeff Crowe after an altercation with Australian skipper in the second Test at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth.
Rabada had received a fine of 50 percent of his match fee and three demerit points after a disciplinary hearing following his denial of the charge.
However, Rabada was found not guilty of the charge of making inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a player following a hearing before the Right Honourable Michael Heron QC yesterday.
Instead, Rabada was found guilty of conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game, an offence under Article 2.1.1 of the Code. As such, Heron imposed a sanction of a fine of 25 percent of his match fee and one demerit point to bring his cumulated total to seven points and making him free to play with immediate effect.
Lashing out at the ICC's decision, Smith said there was now a danger that that physical contact between players could become open slather.
Smith further said he would not be instructing his fast bowlers to follow Rabada's example as a result of the backflip.
"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," said Smith, as media reports suggest.
"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," he added.
The Australian skipper further questioned why he was not called as a witness to the appeal the hearing, given he was the player on the receiving end of Rabada's mid-pitch bump with his shoulder in Port Elizabeth.
"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," he said.
The four-match series is currently levelled at 1-1 after South Africa won the second Test by six wickets over Australia at the St George's Park, Port Elizabeth.
(With ANI Inputs)