Cape Town, March 21: On the eve of the third Test against South Africa starting at Newlands here on Thursday, Australia skipper Steve Smith expressed his disappointment at the ICC hearing which cleared Protea pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada to play the final two Tests.
Surprised by the verdict, Smith questioned why he had not been asked for his version of events as the other party in the incident, for which the match referee Jeff Crowe had found Rabada guilty of making “inappropriate and deliberate” physical contact with the batsman after dismissing him on day one of the Port Elizabeth Test.
“The ICC have set the standard, haven’t they? There was clearly contact out in the middle,” Smith said here ahead of Thursday’s third Test.
“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.
“I certainly think he bumped me a little bit harder than it actually looked on the footage. It didn’t bother me too much.
“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.
Having already met the incoming match referee Andy Pycroft for the final two Tests of this series, Smith said he would seek further clarification of the appeal decision, and stated that Crowe had the right to feel “annoyed” that his deliberations had been cast aside by appeals commissioner Michael Heron.
“The way he handled both sides throughout the two Test matches, I thought he did a terrific job,” Smith said of Crowe.
“I’d be feeling a bit annoyed if I was him, to be perfectly honest.
“A new match referee coming in so he wanted to have a chat with the senior players so myself, Davey (David Warner) and Nathan Lyon. I think he’s going to chat to Faf (du Plessis), AB (de Villiers) and Hashim (Amla) as well. Just to ensure that the series is continued to be played in pretty good spirit,” he added.
The four-match series is currently squared at 1-1.