PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (Reuters) - A contrite Kagiso Rabada admits he has let his team down after his two-test suspension significantly weakened South Africa’s chances of winning their home test series against Australia.
The firebrand fast bowler recorded figures of 11-150 to help South Africa win the second test in Port Elizabeth on Monday and level the series at 1-1
With matches to come on hard tracks in Cape Town and Johannesburg, Rabada had the potential to lead his side to a first home series victory over the Australians since 1970.
“It’s going to have to stop. I can’t keep doing this because I am letting the team down and I am letting myself down,” Rabada told reporters on Monday.
“I have to move forward. I have to see it as a big learning curve and not repeat the same mistake. I am not happy about it but time moves on.”
It’s not the first time Rabada has been forced to the sidelines, he was banned for the second test against England in July last year after swearing at Ben Stokes, with the punishment pushing him to four demerit points.
After being found guilty of making contact with Australia captain Steve Smith and being overzealous in his send-off of David Warner in the second test, he now has nine demerit points, triggering an automatic two-game suspension.
“There are a lot of grey areas but rules are rules. The reason why we went for a hearing (on the Smith charge) was because we believe that there’s not a lot of consistency. If I knew I did it deliberately, I wouldn’t have gone to contest,” Rabada said.
“I didn’t even feel contact in that moment because I was so pumped up. It’s the same as with Lord’s - I didn’t try and appeal (the charge) because I knew I did it.”
Rabada admits he lets his emotions get the better of him, though his celebrations on Monday were noticeably more muted.
“I don’t know what I am thinking actually. To be honest, I just let it out. It’s a big series, there is a lot to play for. There’s a whole lot of emotion and pride. You don’t want to roll over. You want to get them out. It’s competitive,” he said.
Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond