Cricket’s lawmakers have weighed in after South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock’s controversial act of deception helped secure a 17-run win over Pakistan.
Fakhar Zaman was just seven runs away from a remarkable double century while chasing 31 off the final over for a Pakistan victory over their hosts.
But the batsman’s innings was ended on 193 when – as you can watch in the video above – de Kock fooled Fakhar into thinking he was safe from being run out.
Pushing for two runs on the first ball of the last over, Fakhar was making his way back for the second when he lifted his eyes and spotted de Kock pointing to the bowler’s end.
With the wicketkeeper seemingly indicating his South African teammate Aiden Markram would attempt to run out Haris Rauf, Fakhar let up and turned to look at his batting partner.
He quickly learned, however, that his stumps were the target of Markram’s throw – and it was about to run him out.
De Kock laughed and pointed at Fakhar but the latest ‘fake fielding’ drama was just beginning to unfold among fans.
While some fans praised the ingenuity, others rightly pointed out that his trick was against the Marylebone Cricket Club’s laws of cricket.
Law 41.5.1 states: “It is unfair for any fielder wilfully to attempt, by word or action, to distract, deceive or obstruct either batsman after the striker has received the ball.”
“The law is clear, with the offence being an ATTEMPT to deceive, rather than the batsman actually being deceived,” the MCC confirmed.
“It’s up to the umpires to decide if there was such an attempt. If so, then it’s not out, five penalty runs + the two they ran, and batsmen choose who faces next ball.”
The umpires chose not to punish de Kock, with South Africa quickly securing the win as Pakistan great Shoaib Akhtar led fans toward the debate on social media.
Remarkably, Fakhar took the blame for his dismissal.
“The fault was mine as I was too busy looking out for Haris Rauf at the other end as I felt he’d started off a little late from his crease, so I thought he was in trouble,” the Pakistan star said.
“The rest is up to the match referee, but I don’t think it’s Quinton’s fault.”
South African skipper Temba Bavuma, enjoying his first victory in his historic role as the team’s first Black captain, described de Kock’s move as “quite clever”.
“Maybe some people might criticise it for maybe not being in the spirit of the game,” Bavuma said.
“But it was an important wicket for us. Zaman was getting close to our target. Yeah, it was clever from Quinny.
“You’ve always got to look for ways especially when things are not going your way, got to find ways to turn momentum around.
“Quinny did that – I don’t think he broke the rules in any kind of way. It was a clever piece of cricket.”
– with AAP