CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Banned South African paceman Kagiso Rabada has gone top of test cricket’s bowling rankings a day after he was suspended from the rest of their series against Australia.
Rabada was banned for two test matches for shoulder-charging Australia captain Steve Smith hours after being named man of the match in his team’s six-wicket win against Australia in the second test in Port Elizabeth.
Rabada put in a match-winning performance as South Africa levelled the four-match series 1-1 and it was the 22-year-old’s 11 wickets that propelled him back to the top of the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings of test bowlers.
He will not be able to build immediately on that display, however, after he was found guilty of a level two ICC code of conduct offence of “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a player”.
He was fined 50 percent of his match fee and given three demerit points, which took him past the tally of eight that triggers an automatic suspension.
It is not the first time Rabada has been banned after he missed the second test against England in July last year after swearing at Ben Stokes.
He goes top of the bowlers’ rankings for a second time in his fledgling career, displacing England’s James Anderson, who drops down to second place.
Rabada has 902 points to Anderson’s 887 with Ravindra Jadeja of India third on 844.
Rabada has taken 15 wickets at an average of 16.80 in the two tests against Australia this month, with his raw pace and accuracy testing the quality of the visiting batsmen.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Toby Davis