Proteas head coach Mark Boucher is the latest to question the International Cricket Council’s decision to ban fast bowler Kagiso Rabada for one Test.
Rabada received one demerit point and was fined for an arguably overzealous celebration after bowling England captain Joe Root on day one of the third Test at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth this week.
He has accumulated four demerit points in a 24-month period, resulting in a one-Test ban. He won’t be selected for the fourth and final Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg later this month.
‘Kagiso bowls at his best when he is nice and aggressive. It’s trying to find a balance of keeping him nice and aggressive and not boxing him in with regard to that. But just understanding the laws of the game and trying to stay on the good side of it, rather than the flip side. It is going to be tough but it is something we will have to address,’ said Boucher.
‘It’s a tough one because the talk is about excessive celebrations in the area of the batter and making contact with the batter; I don’t feel he made any contact with the batter whatsoever. He wasn’t even looking at him. Yes, he was in his space but there are probably different ways you can look at it. It doesn’t really matter what we feel about it. The match referee has made up his mind.
‘You don’t want to take all the aggression out of the game of cricket. You’ve got two countries playing hard cricket against each other. In a heated situation, guys are trying really hard and sometimes the emotions overflow. From that side, maybe I am a little bit disappointed in the rules and regulations but if you know the rules and regulations, you have got to stick to them. Kagiso knows what he can and cannot do and he maybe just pushed a little bit too far.
‘Rabada is a team man as well, so he will feel very disappointed. It’s something that we have to address and get a good balance. In our days, we didn’t have to deal with this stuff because we could say pretty much what we wanted and get away with it. It is a bit of a learning curve for me with all these new rules and regulations that have come in, to try and get the best out of him with his aggression but also try and monitor him in the discipline side.’
Earlier this month, England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler was fined, but not banned, for calling Proteas all-rounder Vernon Philander a ‘f****** knobhead’ during the second Test at Newlands in Cape Town.
‘I am a little bit worried. There’s been quite a few things happening in world cricket, we saw it last game, where sides are going for a win, they are pushing hard for a win. England had been in the field for a long time and the swear words weren’t great, but it’s aggression. In our day, we’d push very hard for a win and try make batters feel uncomfortable if we are on top. The laws have changed. I understand where the ICC want to go with it. Hopefully they find a balance where they don’t take emotion out of the game. I still think there is a very big place for that in cricket,’ added Boucher.
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