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Rabada awaits call, six-hour hearing over

Suspended spearhead Kagiso Rabada’s six-hour hearing is over but the wait for independent commissioner Michael Heron’s verdict continues.

South African barrister Dali Mpofu argued on Monday that Rabada did not deliberately make contact with Steve Smith’s shoulder during a send-off that marred the second Test.

Rabada, Proteas captain Faf du Plessis and team manager Mohammed Moosajee all gave evidence during proceedings, which Heron chaired via video conference.

Heron now has up to 48 hours to settle on a decision, which the International Cricket Council (ICC) will communicate to both teams and the media.

It means the saga could drag on until Wednesday, with the third Test starting a day later at Newlands.

Rabada will miss the rest of the four-Test series against Australia unless his charge is thrown out.

“We haven’t even spoke about it since we got together today. We as players are trying to isolate ourselves away from that situation,” Proteas opener Dean Elgar said.

“Whether KG is playing in the third Test or not, it’s out of our hands. Hopefully we can put this behind us an carry on playing cricket.”

Beanpole Morne Morkel, who revealed last month he would retire at the end of the current series, and recent squad addition Duanne Olivier are in the mix to take Rabada’s place in the XI should his appeal prove unsuccessful.

Elgar admitted losing Rabada would be a big blow.

“Having him in the side is massive for us. I think it’s massive for the game, it’s massive for the format,” he said.

“If he’s good to go for the third Test it would be awesome for us and awesome for the game.”

Australia opener Cameron Bancroft talked up the threat posed by Morkel and Olivier but suggested Australia were prepared for the prospect of Rabada playing at Newlands.

Match referee Jeff Crowe found Rabada was responsible for making “inappropriate and deliberate physical contact” with Smith in Port Elizabeth.

The express paceman was given a two-Test suspension because of his bad record, having accrued five demerit points from previous misdeeds.

“He had the opportunity to avoid the contact and I could not see any evidence to support the argument that the contact was accidental,” Crowe said in a statement after the second Test.

“It is also disappointing that this has happened the day after the pre-match meeting I had with both teams, where the importance of respect for opponents was highlighted.

“I take no pleasure in seeing a player suspended, particularly a young player of Kagiso’s talent, but he has now breached the ICC code of conduct on a number of occasions.”

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