South Africa's Kagiso Rabada available for rest of Australia series after ban overturned

Rabada was in hot water for a number of incidents during South Africa's win in Port Elizabeth.
Updated 20 March 2018
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South Africa's Kagiso Rabada available for rest of Australia series after ban overturned

LONDON: South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada has had his two-Test ban overturned on appeal, meaning he will be available for the remainder of the series against Australia.
Rabada was banned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the third and fourth Tests after being found guilty of two charges of misconduct for aggressive wicket celebrations in South Africa’s series-leveling victory in the second Test in Port Elizabeth.
The first charge, of deliberately bumping into Australia captain Steve Smith after getting him out in the first innings in Port Elizabeth, earned Rabada three disciplinary demerit points, taking him over a threshold and resulting in the ban.
Rabada and Cricket South Africa appealed that finding on the basis that he did not deliberately bump into Smith. The appeal was upheld after an independent judicial hearing in Cape Town on Monday.
“The key issue is whether Mr. Rabada made ‘inappropriate and deliberate physical contact’ with Mr. Smith,” said judicial officer Mike Heron, who heard the appeal. “I am not ‘comfortably satisfied’ that Mr. Rabada intended to make contact and I therefore find him not guilty.”
For the Smith incident, Rabada was found guilty on a lesser charge but the punishment did not constitute a ban. He had already pleaded guilty to a second charge in Port Elizabeth, of shouting in Australia batsman David Warner’s face when he got him out. That also did not constitute enough demerit points for a ban.
The decision to drop the two-Test ban is a major boost for South Africa ahead of the third clash in Cape Town starting tomorrow. Rabada is ranked the No.1 bowler in Tests and is the spearhead of the home team’s bowling attack.
The series is level at 1-1 with tests in Cape Town and Johannesburg to come, with South Africa seeking a first home series win over Australia since the end of apartheid.


Egypt coach Javier Aguirre knows “80-90 percent" of his AFCON squad

Updated 27 min 39 sec ago
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Egypt coach Javier Aguirre knows “80-90 percent" of his AFCON squad

  • Mexican coach looking at fringe players in matches against Niger and Nigeria this weekend.
  • Pressure will be on the Pharaohs with AFCON taking place on home soil this summer.

LONDON: Javier Aguirre already knows 80-90 percent of his African Cup of Nations squad, according to his Egypt assistant coach Hany Ramzy.
The Pharaohs face Niger for their final AFCON qualifier on Saturday, knowing they have already qualified, before facing Nigeria in a friendly three days later.
Both matches are effectively warm-up matches for the tournament which takes place in Egypt in June and July, and coach Aguirre is now apparently thinking more about tactics than personnel.
“Aguirre has settled on 80-90 percent of the names that will join our squad at the African Cup. We feel comfortable as we are guaranteed a spot at the finals,” Ramzy told King Fut website.
For this weekend’s matches Aguirre has left his big-name players such as Mohamed Salah and Ahmed Hegazi at home so he can have a look at some of those on the fringe of the squad. A tough match is expected in Nigeria and that could be the last chance some have to impress the Mexican coach, with the final squad announcement expected in two months.
“(The final squad) will involve a bigger vision after we have seen the new faces play at this camp. Leaving out some players this time doesn’t mean that they won’t join the team again,” Ramzy said.
“The Niger and Nigeria matches are a chance to examine new faces that could have a role in the African Cup, especially as they will play under the fans’ pressure against Nigeria.
“We want to give the youth players a chance, and also to prepare and provide them with the experience of preparatory camps, even if they aren’t selected for the tournament.”
After last year’s World Cup disappointment, when Salah and Co, lost all three matches in Russia, there will be a lot of pressure on the Pharaohs to do well in front of their expectant fans.