Cape Town, March 21: Ahead of the third cricket Test against Australia starting at Newlands here on Thursday, South Africa head coach Ottis Gibson conceded that the return of pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada is a big ‘lift’ for the hosts.
Rabada was on Monday cleared to play the remaining two Tests after he was found not guilty of the level two charge of making ‘inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with a player’ following an appeal hearing here.
Gibson said that the No.1-ranked Rabada is geared up for the match, and does not need any more motivation to perform following a busy week of legal hearings off the field.
“We are very happy that he (Rabada) is allowed to play. We believe that it is the right decision at the end of the day,” Gibson was quoted as saying by cricket.co.za.
“He has been made aware of his on-field celebrations — I don’t want to say behaviour because he is not a badly-behaved kid — he is just excitable and exuberant at times. When you are playing the best team in the world sometimes that will come out of you.
“He is a very strong character. He came out of the hearing after six hours and just wanted to practice, that is what he loves to do.”
“We are pleased that he has been allowed to do that for the rest of the series. He has been made aware of his responsibility going forward, not just to himself, but to the team as well. He is an important fit in our team, we can’t afford to not have him available,” he added.
Commenting on the nature of the wicket at Newlands, which also hosted the first Test against India in January, Gibson said: “The groundsman says the wicket here will be similar to what it was for the last match. We expect the two teams to go hard at each other on the field and leave some of the off-field stuff off the field.”
The four-match series is currently locked at 1-1.