Surprised Smith says Rabada appeal verdict draws 'line in the sand'

After Kagiso Rabada's suspension was overturned on appeal, Steve Smith said: "The ICC have set the standard, haven't they?"

Australia captain Steve Smith   -  Getty Images

A surprised Steve Smith says a "line in the sand" has been set in terms of acceptable physical contact on a cricket field, after Kagiso Rabada's suspension was overturned.

South Africa paceman Rabada was initially banned for the third and fourth Tests with Australia after he received three demerit points - taking his total to eight in a 24-month period - for making "inappropriate and deliberate physical contact" with Smith following his dismissal of Australia's captain in the second Test.

However, a lengthy appeal hearing ended with Rabada receiving a reduced sanction of one demerit point, meaning he is now free to play in Cape Town this week.

"The ICC have set the standard, haven't they? There was clearly contact out in the middle," Smith told reporters on Wednesday.

"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. But the standard has been set.

"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."

Smith suggested the decision could lead to more disciplinary sanctions being challenged.

"You always want your best players available to play so maybe, particularly now that we know people can get off, that's for sure. That's a possibility in the future," he added.

"They [South Africa] obviously appealed this one and it looked like a pretty long process in the courtroom. But if you see guys getting off then perhaps guys will appeal a bit more in the future to try and get off certain things."

Jeff Crowe - the ICC match referee who initially decided Rabada's punishment - has been replaced by Andy Pycroft for the final two Tests, in a change that was scheduled prior to the Rabada controversy.

Australia's skipper has already spoken to Pycroft ahead of the third Test, but could seek further clarification over the appeal decision.

"I might have a chat to him [Pycroft] around what's gone on," Smith explained. "Obviously they've deemed the contact not to be deliberate and set the line in the sand of what is appropriate and what's not. We'll see what he has to say."

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :