England v South Africa, 1st Investec Test, Lord's July 7, 2017

Rabada suspended after Stokes send-off

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Kagiso Rabada claimed 3 for 123 in England's first innings at Lord's © Getty Images

South Africa have suffered a huge blow with Kagiso Rabada being suspended for the second Test against England at Trent Bridge after he was sanctioned by the ICC for giving Ben Stokes a send-off on the opening day at Lord's.

Rabada was fined 15% of his match fee and handed one demerit point for this incident, in which he told Stokes to "f**k off" after dismissing him for 56 during England's first innings. Rabada had previously been given three demerit points for an altercation with Niroshan Dickwella during the one-day international in Cape Town in February. The total of four points means he is now automatically suspended for one Test.

An ICC statement said: "During the opening day's play in the Lord's Test against England on Thursday, Rabada was found guilty of breaching article 2.1.7 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Player and Player Support Personnel, which relates to "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."

"Thursday's incident related to Rabada using inappropriate language after dismissing England batsman Ben Stokes, which were audible over the stump microphones and also resulted in the batsman to turn before walking off the field."

Stokes was the first of Rabada's three scalps in the England first innings, during which the 21-year old seemed to lack some of his usual venom. Though he has touched his usual 90mph pace, Rabada has struggled for rhythm throughout this tour but his absence will still rob South Africa of one of their most reputed quicks and will only add to the unsettled feeling around the touring side.

South Africa went into the Lord's Test without captain Faf du Plessis, after he remained at home following the birth of his first child. Du Plessis is expected to be back in time for Trent Bridge, where he will have to manage an attack sans Rabada.

In reserve, South Africa have Duanne Olivier, their first-class competition's leading-wicket-taker who also bowls quickly, has a good bouncer and made his Test debut against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers, as well as allrounders Andile Phehlukwayo and Chris Morris. Olivier is the likeliest replacement for Rabada unless South Africa feel the need to beef up the batting reserves and play Morris. Phehlukwayo, who is uncapped, only has an outside chance of playing.

Rabada's absence will also have a small impact on South Africa's transformation numbers, which don't apply from game to game but do add up over the course of a season. South Africa are required to field a minimum average of six players of colour, of which two must be black African.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Patrick on July 10, 2017, 21:27 GMT

    If this system was in force a few years earlier, the likes of Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson would have missed about half of their careers.

  • houseofneil on July 10, 2017, 18:11 GMT

    This situation hasn't been well explained at all. Rabada was not suspended because of this one incident. You need 4 demerit points in a 2 year span to get a suspension. Rabada already had 3 points for bumping a batsman earlier this year. Swearing at Stokes got him his 4th point and so he is suspended for 1 test.

  • Dudley on July 10, 2017, 4:28 GMT

    Punishments like these is the only solution to clean-up the game. Dudley Gunasena, Eastwood, NSW, Australia.

  •   Bhim(bro)Nepal on July 10, 2017, 2:56 GMT

    Oh no!! He should be ban for 6 months or more. It is a small penalty by ICC :(. It is a game not the romantic place for him.

  • subodh on July 9, 2017, 22:41 GMT

    Really, bad behaviour got punished, stop hunting desperately for ridiculous racial overtones.

  • bhmemo1769674 on July 9, 2017, 10:01 GMT

    How can a player be suspended for the next game while the present game is still going? Totally unfair. How is he meant to concentrate for the rest of this game? Finish the game, then announce his punishment.

  • CHRIS on July 9, 2017, 6:24 GMT

    This is a game of sport not combat. Even in combat there are rules and politically acceptable conduct. The penalty is too small. They should ban players who resort to foul language, watched by millions of children and adults. Such conduct would not make him a better player.

  • Jon on July 8, 2017, 19:43 GMT

    @Talgeri, that all may be true in a perfect world but that's a little naïve don't you think? If you try to sanitize the game to the point where players are not allowed to show emotion then it will become a very dull watch.

  • Bazza on July 8, 2017, 16:49 GMT

    @ozfan56... Ive seen many a nervous batsman receiving a send off by Aussies so whats the point? Best reply ever was the one to Waugh about him not being the best player in his family in chirp to being questioned about being the best available in england! Lol

  • dsanbo4975519 on July 8, 2017, 12:59 GMT

    I think it is a bit harsh!! Hope they will be consistent when it comes to these things... 'Cause at the moment there is no consistency!

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