Faf fired up about ICC disciplinary system
Faf du Plessis has questioned international cricket's disciplinary approach, stunned that David Warner's staircase rampage and Kagiso Rabada's rowdy send-off could both be worth three demerit points.
The points resulting from Rabada's latest misdeed have triggered a two-Test ban that will force him to miss the rest of the current series, unless South Africa successfully appeal.
The express paceman was found guilty of inappropriate and deliberate physical contact with Steve Smith in Port Elizabeth, having brushed the batsman's shoulder in a send-off.
It was a level-two charge.
Warner committed a level-two offence in the first Test. He was slapped with three demerit points for raging at Quinton de Kock in a tea-time row that was deemed to have brought the game into disrepute.
Match referee Jeff Crowe dished out both punishments. Warner was docked 75 per cent of his match fee, while Rabada was fined half of his match payment.
"If you look at both those incidents, one is brushing a shirt and the other one is a lot more aggressive," du Plessis said.
"That was my question: why are both of these incidents labelled as exactly the same? Because for me they're not.
"You could say that the contact (between Rabada and Smith) was very, very minimal. It was a short flick of two players and you'd get one or two demerit points as a slap on the wrist because it wasn't full-body contact.
"It is so difficult to always be consistent because there will always be different interpretations.
"Everyone just asks for consistency ... but one match referee or one umpire interprets (something differently compared to another)."
Warner would have been forced to miss the second Test if he was punished with four demerit points.
Du Plessis alleged that Crowe made it clear he didn't want to suspend Australia's vice-captain and that shaped his final punishment.
"The match referee said there are bigger things to play for here, that's why he didn't want to ban Davey Warner," he said.
"Because he wants him to play the rest of the series.
"I just said I would like the same to apply to KG."
Rabada's problem is that he had five carry-over points from past indiscretions, while Warner had a clean sheet.
Du Plessis argued Test cricket is becoming too sanitised.
"We're just going too (far) on the sensitive side with everything," he said.
"He (Rabada) has to show that passion, otherwise you can just put a bowling machine and robot to bat.
"We as a team have got no issues the way the Australian team play their brand of cricket."
Smith expressed similar sentiments about the Proteas, but noted the ICC had recently tried to crackdown on send-offs and "ensure that things look sportsmanlike out on the field".
Crowe detailed in a statement how disappointing it was that Rabada's send-off came one day after the match referee met with both captains.
"The importance of respect for opponents was highlighted," Crowe said.