Proteas bowler Dale Steyn believes the fear of being banned is holding teammate Kagiso Rabada back in the Test series against Australia.
Rabada was banned for the second Test against England in July last year, and is currently on five demerit points, just three away from another ban, which would be in effect for two Tests.
The 22-year-old speedster was fined 15% of his match fee and received one demerit point after his dismissal of India’s Shikhar Dhawan in the second ODI last month was deemed as ‘aggressive’.
The recent Test at Kingsmead in Durban saw both South Africa and Australia involved in a lot of sledging. But Rabada, who is not shy when it comes to confrontations, was fairly quiet.
Reports on the game in Durban have since been dominated by the off-field spat between David Warner and Quinton de Kock.
‘One other guy that actually gets involved is KG [Rabada]. He really does get stuck in,’ Steyn told Radio KFM in an interview on Monday.
‘But I think after some of his last few incidents where he got into trouble, he kind of has the handcuffs around him right now, which is a little unfair because if you look at the way some of the Aussies are going about it – and I’m not standing here and complaining, and I hope I don’t get a fine for saying that – but you kind of feel that you are taking out our best competitor, especially with that kind of presence,’ said Steyn.
‘If you take him out of the game, it’s like taking a knife to a gunfight really. It’s a little bit unfair.’
Also in his interview, Steyn said he was hoping to make his comeback during the Newlands Test on 22 March.