Opinion: Rabada apology just empty lip service

Fielder throws cricket ball in

Oh the irony of Kagiso Rabada returning to the top of the International Cricket Council's rankings for Test bowlers - and being banned for the rest of the series against Australia - in the same 24-hour period.

Just as well the ICC rankings only take into account actual cricket performance, or Rabada might find himself languishing in the top 50 somewhere.

There is no doubting his talent, but he has to - immediately - rein back the way he celebrates the big wickets. South African fans are too quick to excuse his behaviour. If it were Stuart Broad or any other opposition fast bowler, we'd be labelling him a hothead and calling on the ICC or his board take action.

Rabada's media conference, to effectively apologise for his overzealous celebrations, didn't add up. Body language and micro expressions - not making eye contact, touching his nose - didn't display remorse. That was empty lip service.

While the physical contact was hardly brutal, he did raise his shoulder and elbow when moving past Steven Smith. Even in the heat of the moment, he had more than enough time to think about how he sent off David Warner. Inexcusable.

Yes, Faf du Plessis is right - Test cricket is getting a bit sensitive. But it is what it is - and the players are not going to bully law changes. Bowlers should be less handcuffed in celebration, as Dale Steyn has suggested, but for now they must fall in line.

Former Aussie fast bowler Peter Siddle jumped to Rabada's defence - and one would like to think the tourists would rather try win this series with Rabada in the opposing team. That would make success, if it occurred, all the more sweet.

Instead, Morne Morkel or perhaps even Wiaan Mulder - as an extra batting resource, too - will come into the XI for the third Test at Newlands. That is, of course, if Cricket South Africa don't appeal - and win - their case to have the Rabada ruling overturned. Fat chance that'll happen, though.

One could argue that two matches is too harsh a ban, but again, the demerit points system is in place for good reason - and has rightly, predictably, caught up with the young pace ace.

If he is going to lead the Protea attack in the future, as his elevation to the new-ball role in the absence of Morkel in Port Elizabeth showed, he will have to grow up - quickly.

As an aside, it's worth formally recognising his ability with the bat. Certainly the best nightwatchman South Africa have had in a long time - and hopefully the recipient of a couple of half-centuries, perhaps even a ton, down the line.

The views expressed above are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Hollywoodbets.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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