South Africa in England 2017 July 10, 2017

Rabada mustn't shelve aggression - du Plessis

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Who can replace Rabada?

Despite earning a sanction for a shove and a vociferous send-off, Kagiso Rabada does not need to tone down his aggression. That's the message from Test captain Faf du Plessis, who is on three demerit points himself after shining the ball with saliva that had also come into contact with a mint during the series against Australia last year, and who has taken a grim view of the ICC's code-of-conduct protocols in the past.

Not only would du Plessis like to see a clearer definition for the artificial substances that are not allowed to come into contact with the ball but he also wants Rabada to stay fierce and fiery and thinks cricket is poorer following his sanction. Rabada will miss the second Test at Trent Bridge after earning the suspension.

"I would never say to KG change the way that you are. It's important that he plays the way that he plays the game. Every guy within cricket needs your natural instinct and personality to come out because that creates the best you," du Plessis said, after South Africa were defeated in his absence at Lord's.

Stand-in captain Dean Elgar revealed that Rabada had said sorry to senior management and felt he had let the team down with his behaviour but du Plessis said he did not expect Rabada to do any more. "I would never expect him to apologise to the team. For me that's showing what you're made of. He is showing that he wants to do desperately well for his country," du Plessis said

He also does not expect Rabada to change the way he approaches the game, saying the isolated incident in which he swore at Ben Stokes was simply a moment of frustration for a bowler who did not have things going his way and was not a personal attack on the batsman involved. In fact, du Plessis believes Stokes is capable of dishing out much of the same medicine and has even given him a nickname to reflect his on-field anger.

Kagiso Rabada earned a fourth demerit point for giving Ben Stokes a send-off © Getty Images

"I don't think it was anything to do with Ben. I think it was a little bit of frustration from KG. He didn't have the rhythm that he wanted to and it was just frustration coming through," du Plessis said. "I played with Ben and I can tell you he is just as fiery and that's what makes him so competitive and so skillful. I called him 'The Dragon' in the IPL because he breathes fire when he gets angry. That's important, when you have characters to come through like that. That's what I say about KG. Not for one second must he lose that."

South Africa have lost Rabada for the second Test though and du Plessis, like Elgar, thinks both the team and the fans will miss out. "It's a big disappointment for us not having him. It's a shame. He is a real big part of this team. In big Test series like this you want to see your big Test players compete against each other," he said.

Rabada should be back for the third match at The Kia Oval and du Plessis hopes Rabada will pick up where he left off at Lord's, but perhaps be a little more mindful of saying things a safe distance away from the stump mic.

"When you play Test cricket you are fighting for your country and you are doing everything you can to win a game of cricket. Controlled emotion is really important. For me, it's the most important thing as long as it doesn't take you away from your skill. KG doesn't do that, that was just frustration," du Plessis said. "I know his personality. He is a very relaxed and quiet guy. He hardly ever swears at the batsmen in the times we've played together. That was purely just frustration."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jason on July 12, 2017, 8:20 GMT

    I agree a line has to be drawn and that there shouldn't be any physical contact, I think if we got into the same situation as Football/soccer then we have reached the bottom of the barrel.

    However I do think that the penalty for Rabada in the SL ODI was very strong, yes he deserved to be sanctioned with demerit points, but not 3, hence the suggestion of a graduated point system in each category, so that the umpires officials can show leniency for first offences, or based on the magnitude.

  • rob on July 11, 2017, 22:25 GMT

    @ CRICINFOUSER ON JULY 11, 2017, 7:50: Sorry man, I have to call you that because I can't see your real moniker. Yeah, there wasn't much in it, I have to agree with that, but there still has to be a line somewhere in the sand and apparently that was it. As long as it's applied uniformly and fairly across the board I can live with that. .. You raise an interesting point about players taking dives etc. I think this is where we need to trust the umpires and match ref to separate the wheat from the chaff, much like they do in the football codes. .. There's another problem too. Sometimes players just collide. Purely accidentally, no malice from either party. The umps have to be on to that too. It's a bit of a nightmare really, but that's what we've got atm it seems.

  • Lloyd on July 11, 2017, 15:03 GMT

    Here's a silver lining. At least Kg will get a rest. He pretty much has to play every game for various reasons so a forced rest is not the worst thing.

  • Bruce on July 11, 2017, 10:08 GMT

    I thought the so called 'pushing' incident was very harsh on both players - there really wasn't very much in it. Having said that, the suspension may be a good thing for Rabada. He's young and a fantastic talent and if he learns from it he will be better for it. Much better to learn the lessons early in life...! I just thank God this system wasn't in place when Warnie was playing - we might have been deprived of one of the truly great careers...!

  • Jason on July 11, 2017, 7:50 GMT

    @Dunger.Bob, I agree, although I don't believe the system is perfect and 4 points for a 1 match ban is probably on the low side, also the points aren't graduated. Having seen the video of the event that earned Rabada 3 points I felt that was too strong, it was nothing more than players brushing shoulders as they passed each other, so probably merited 1 or 2 points not 3.

    It also means that potentially Batsmen could ham it up to get a player suspended, a situation where the bowlers on his way back to his mark and the non-striker deliberately gets in his way then makes a meal out of the bowler 'barging him', much like we see in soccer with players clutching hamstrings/faces when there is minimal contact to get the opposition a red card.

    Make it 10 points in 2 years for a ban, but also have graduated points eg a shoulder brush is 1 point, a full on shove is 5 points. Level 3 and 4 offences carry punitive demerit points starting at 10 and increased exponentially.

  • epmado6579614 on July 11, 2017, 5:59 GMT

    True Captain. If you have 2 or more players like Rabada in ur team, u will win WC. This is wat proteas dnt hv, aggression, hunger, the will to will to win at all cost. They are too soft more of sorry boys. You need fighters like Rabada, who fight with all they have, emotions and with the ball.

  • rob on July 11, 2017, 5:47 GMT

    @ BlahBlahBlah: Not everything is about the Aussies you know. Cricket is supposed to be non contact, let's keep it that way.

  • blahblah1234567_9F5B2346-4AB1-446E-A1A0-77E2268CE43B on July 11, 2017, 2:57 GMT

    Dunger.Bob --- you should watch a video of that incident. Both players got 3 demerits points BTW. they both barely pushed each other and got 3 points where as nothing happened about the brain fade thing.

  • rob on July 11, 2017, 2:06 GMT

    I don't think most people get it. The send off was just the tipping point because it earned his 4th demerit point. The real problem came earlier when he manhandled the Sri Lankan player and got himself 3 points in one swoop. It left him with loaded bases so to speak. .. I don't care about swearing. It's more or less common speech where I come from but to actually lay your hands on another player is something I can't condone. That sort of thing has to be stopped imo. The occasional swear word isn't going to get him suspended (unless he goes on some sort of binge of course) but getting right up in peoples faces and touching them most certainly will, and rightly so too. If he can stop doing that he'll be ok I reckon.

  • m.opin1594230 on July 11, 2017, 1:59 GMT

    Showing agression and bad behaviour may show love for your country but it may give wrong signal to the world about your country. Cricket used to be played very professionally, try you can continue that way.

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