Steve Smith accused of tampering with the infamous contact of Kagiso Rabada, autobiography of Faf du Plessis

Former South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has accused Steve Smith of ‘milking’ his infamous on-field contact with Proteas playmaker Kagiso Rabada, which made headlines in 2018.

Before the Test series became embroiled in a ball-tampering saga, Rabada found himself in hot water for his post-wicket celebration after dismissing Smith in the second Test at St George’s Park.

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After trapping Smith on the pads for 25 in Port Elizabeth, Rabada roared in the Australia captain’s direction before the pair rubbed shoulders.

Smith immediately turned around, telling teammate Shaun Marsh there had been contact before calling for a review, which was unsuccessful.

Following the incident, an incendiary message was posted on Vernon Philander’s Twitter account: “I haven’t actually seen the footage of this incident but on first glance…Steve Smith gave KG the shoulder. He could have avoided any contact but for me he is just as guilty. Trying out some soccer skills to get a penalty??? Too bad he didn’t dive to top it all off.

Philander later claimed that his Twitter account had been hacked.

Because Rabada was a repeat offender, the International Cricket Council handed down a two-match suspension which would have ruled him out for the remainder of the series.

But the South African became one of the first players to successfully overturn an ICC ban after a six-hour appeal hearing, finishing as the highest wicket-taker with 23 scalps at 19.26 in four Tests , later named Player of the Series.

“I will not change the way I express myself,” Rabada said at the time.

“I’m just going to get away from the batter.”

Steve Smith from Australia. Photo by Paul Kane/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

After Rabada’s suspension was overturned, Smith argued that the ICC had set a precedent for on-court contact.

He aired his grievances to reporters ahead of the third test in Cape Town, expressing concerns about how the appeals process was going.

“I certainly don’t think I baited Kagiso in any way. That’s how I felt anyway,” he told reporters at the time.

“The contact was harder than it looked on TV. Whether it was intentional or not is not for me to decide.

“I think when you take someone out, you’ve already won the battle. It is not necessary to go beyond that. I was walking to the other end of the wicket, I certainly didn’t change my line or anything.

“The ICC set the standard, didn’t it? There was clearly a contact in the middle. I will definitely not tell my bowlers to go there and after taking a wicket go to their space. I don’t think that’s part of the game.”

Commenting on Philander’s tweet, Smith scoffed, “That was a bit over the top…that’s a whole bunch of garbage.”

Two years later, Rabada would be suspended for one game for overzealous celebration after sacking England captain Joe Root at Port Elizabeth.

It was the fourth breach of the code of conduct by the South African fast in 24 months.

Kagiso Rabada from South Africa. Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Earlier this summer, du Plessis addressed the incident in his autobiography Faf through the fire,

reopening old wounds ahead of South Africa’s first Test series against Australia since the ball-tampering saga.

The 38-year-old compared Smith to a footballer, suggesting the Australian overstated the severity of the collision.

“This episode was all but forgotten against the backdrop of what the show still had up its sleeve, or more accurately, up its pants,” du Plessis wrote.

“They rubbed their shoulders during one of KG’s overs but Smith treated him like a football player. We knew KG was at a demerit point of a suspension.

Talk to press company ahead of the first Test in Brisbane, Rabada refused to comment on his heated clash with Smith – until his retirement, that is.

“What happened happened,” Rabada said.

“I won’t say anything now. After my career, I could talk a little more about it and come back to what happened. But for now, we will continue.

“It was definitely a test series I will never forget and things didn’t end too well off the pitch.”

Steve Smith from Australia and Faf du Plessis from South Africa. Photo by Gerhard Duran/Gallo Images/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

The 2018 Test series in South Africa was marked by several scandals on and off the pitch, which are well documented: David Warner’s dressing room confrontation with Quinton de Kock, Nathan Lyon’s vapid celebration and, of course, Cape Town’s sandpapergate. scandal.

Nearly five years later, Smith is adamant there is no lingering animosity between the two nations.

“The cricket we’ve played for the last four and a half years, we’ve played the right way, we’ve been tough and we’ve played in the right spirit,” Smith told reporters on Sunday.

“So for us, nothing changes, we’ll just keep going about our business and hopefully play good, entertaining cricket.”

South Africa captain Dean Elgar echoed Smith’s sentiments earlier in the week, saying the Proteas had no hard feelings.

“It was a very difficult time for all of us, although we weren’t the guys who put up with it all. But we were part of it,” he told reporters.

“These are sad events, but I have no animosity towards the players involved or CA. They were unfortunate scenes but that period has long passed and we have moved on.

“I wish things were very different. The history, when it comes to Test cricket between South Africa and Australia, is so rich. The competitive nature is very similar. We both want to go out and play a brand of cricket that our countries can be proud of. It was extremely juicy, even until this game in Cape Town. Those were interesting times.

The series opener between Australia and South Africa kicks off at The Gabba on Saturday, with the first ball scheduled for 11:20 a.m. AEDT.


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