A furious Faf du Plessis raises questions on ICC’s demerit system

The South Africa skipper lashes out at the ICC and will be without his strike bowler for the next Test.

Faf du Plessis of South Africa celebrates with Kagiso Rabada
Faf du Plessis of South Africa celebrates with Kagiso Rabada. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

South Africa’s star paceman Kagiso Rabada has been banned from playing the remainder of the series – two Tests, for accumulating eight demerit points in a 24-month period. Rabada was found guilty of making a deliberate contact with the Australian captain Steve Smith after dismissing him, which landed him his eighth demerit point.

The captain’s argument 

However, Australia’s David Warner avoided any ban following his ugly row with Quinton de Kock. In the wake of this, South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has questioned the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) demerit system, saying that it does Test cricket no favors. He also pointed out that Warner and Rabada’s charges were different in the way the offense was made.

“The charge against KG (Rabada) is a level 2 with three demerit points, and the charge against Davey (Warner) is a level 2 with three demerit points. For me, if you look at those incidents, one is brushing off the shirt, the other is a lot more aggressive. My question was: why are both these incidents labeled the same? For me, they are not,” Plessis was quoted as saying on cricbuzz.

“They call it body contact, we would say it is a shirt being brushed or it was not deliberate. As the match referee mentioned, there are bigger things at play here, that’s why he didn’t ban Davey Warner and make it a level three offense because it’s a series between two big teams. I just asked the same question,” he added.

Rabada’s ban, Australia’s gain

Rabada’s ban is a huge loss for the Proteas, especially after his exceptional figures of 11-150 in the second Test in Port Elizabeth which helped his side level the series 1-1. Had Rabada played the remainder of the two Tests, both of which are to be hosted in grounds suiting his style of bowling, South Africa’s chances of winning their first home series over Australia since 1970 would have been much higher.