Australia captain Steven Smith has raised questions over the integrity of the International Cricket Council's (ICC) after the Proteas speedster Kagiso Rabada was allowed to feature in the next two Tests following a successful legal challenge.
Surprised by the outcome, Smith expressed his dismay for not been asked for his version of events as the other party. Rabada, who bowled South Africa to a series-levelling victory with 11 wickets in the second test in Port Elizabeth, was found guilty of the Level 2 offence for making “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact” with Steve Smith.
Consequently, the ace paceman had received a fine of 50 percent of his match fee besides getting three demerit points. Since Rabada had accumulated eight demerit points within a 24-month period, it automatically resulted in a two-match suspension.
"The ICC have set the standard, haven't they? There was clearly contact out in the middle. I certainly won't be telling my bowlers to go out there and after you take a wicket go and get in their space. I don't think that is on and part of the game,” Smith said according to Cricinfo.
"I certainly think he bumped me a little bit harder than it actually looked on the footage. It didn't bother me too much. I guess the emotion after you get out you don't really he's won the battle. What's the point of over-celebrating? And getting in the face of a batter, you've already won the battle. But they've obviously decided what's deliberate contact and what's not, and apparently it wasn't," he added.
Considering the procedure of ICC’s code of conduct, Smith is baffled for not being asked to give his account of the confrontation.
"The other person involved not getting asked about it is pretty interesting, I thought. You still want to come up against the best players. That's part of playing the game and Kagiso is No.1 in the world. It was interesting the way things played out and that he was able to get the charge brought down with an appeal," Smith said.
On the other hand, South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis was at the hearing and he asserted that it was a fair process by all means.
"I think it's really good for the game, I don't see a problem where a neutral guy sits and makes a decision and listens to both parties,” Du Plessis quoted by Cricinfo as saying.
"I was there and said to our people that even if we didn't win the case I was very impressed with the judge and how he listened to both sides. He was very fair in the questions he asked. I think the process is good. You should have a platform if you feel you haven't done something wrong, and have someone who sits in the middle and has a fair, objective point of view of listening to both sides and making a decision," he explained.
The Proteas captain also argued on Smith’s remarks that he should have been called to tell his side of the story.
"He wasn't charged, if he was charged probably he would have been asked, KG was charged so he's defending himself," Du Plessis said.
"The judge has to decide if he sees it as intentional. Nothing I was going to say was going to have any impact on that, I wasn't even needed to talk. His decision was made on the deciding factor if it was on purpose or not," he concluded.
The third Test between South Africa and Australia will start on Thursday (March 22) at the picturesque Newlands, Cape Town.