Proteas seamer Kagiso Rabada has been cleared to play in the third Test, which has irked veteran Australian journalist Robert Craddock.
After being initially ruled out for the remainder of the series, Rabada successfully overturned his suspension on appeal.
While the decision was celebrated in South Africa, Craddock displayed his unhappiness on an Australian sports TV show.
‘I sit before you here totally shocked,’ Craddock reportedly said on The Back Page Live on Tuesday.
‘Not saddened, because I’m quite looking forward to seeing him play but I’ve got to say this: this decision makes a complete mockery of everything the laws of cricket stand for,’ he said.
‘It was handed down less than an hour ago by Michael Heron, the QC from New Zealand, and for the life of me I can’t understand his logic.
‘I’ll just give you two sentences. He says here, “I’m not comfortably satisfied that Mr Rabada intended to make contact and therefore find him not guilty” but then he goes on to say: “I considered the conduct inappropriate, lacked respect for his fellow player and involved non-deliberate and minor contact”.
‘Sorry, but that was deliberate contact. He had done it before and had five offences in 14 months.
‘The Code of Conduct has got to stand for something. Five offences in 14 months, that was the latest. Match referee Jeff Crowe will be mortified by this — he’s been speared by another New Zealander, Michael Heron the QC, who’s spent six hours listening to the South African defence. It’s an absolute watershed decision.
‘[Rabada] is the first cricketer in 20 years to fully unite South Africa. The blacks love him, the whites love him. And the journalists over there were telling me that you could feel it, the political pressure — free this man!
‘They had a very good lawyer, Dali Mpofu, who’s a national celebrity, a former freedom fighter. And my mates who walked past the inquiry when it was on and did a little bit of listening, ever discreetly, said you could hear his voice and it was Churchillian and he argued brilliantly. But it doesn’t change it, the law should be the law. He had to go.
‘What I can’t understand is how can you be a little bit of guilty of that. He either elbowed him or he didn’t. We all get it wasn’t a Sonny Bill Williams shoulder charge, but it was deliberate — he had to go.
‘How is the kid going to ever learn his lesson? He’s got off that now. You can get away with anything. That’s what disappoints me as a cricket fan. I love him. I think he can be one of the top five bowlers of all time.’
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