Fake fielding law and was Fakhar Zaman run out: Explainer

Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman's dismissal in the second ODI against South Africa has reignited the 'fake fielding' debate. Here's an explainer on the law and what the stakeholders are saying.

Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman's dismissal in the second ODI against Pakistan has reignited the 'fake fielding' debate.   -  AP

Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman's dismissal in the second ODI against South Africa has reignited the 'fake fielding' debate. Needing 342 to win, Zaman's brilliant 193 had kept Pakistan in the hunt till the last over the chase before the opener's run out helped South Africa level the ODI series 1-1. 

The South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock signalled that the throw was to Lungi Ngidi at the bowler's end, only for Aiden Markram's throw to hit the stumps at the keeper's end. Zaman, who had by then slowed down in his second run, was caught short of his ground.

What is the law

Law 41.5: Deliberate distraction, deception or obstruction of batsman

Law 41.5, termed the ‘fake fielding’ law, states that “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”. According to clause 41.5.2, “It is for either one of the umpires to decide whether any distraction, deception or obstruction is wilful or not.” Had the umpires found de Kock guilty, then Law 41.5.3 would have come into effect: "If either umpire considers that a fielder has caused or attempted to cause such a distraction, deception or obstruction, he/she shall immediately call and signal Dead ball and inform the other umpire of the reason for the call."

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41.5.4 Neither batsman shall be dismissed from that delivery.

41.5.5 If an obstruction involves physical contact, the umpires together shall decide whether or not an offence under Law 42 (Players’ conduct) has been committed. If an offence under Law 42 (Players’ conduct) has been committed, they shall apply the relevant procedures in Law 42 and shall also apply each of 41.5.7 to 41.5.9. If they consider that there has been no offence under Law 42 (Players’ conduct), they shall apply each of 41.5.6 to 41.5.10.      

41.5.6 The bowler’s end umpire shall

  • award 5 Penalty runs to the batting side.
  • inform the captain of the fielding side of the reason for this action and as soon as practicable inform the captain of the batting side.

41.5.7 The ball shall not count as one of the over.

41.5.8 Any runs completed by the batsmen before the offence shall be scored, together with any runs for penalties awarded to either side.  Additionally, the run in progress shall be scored whether or not the batsmen had already crossed at the instant of the offence.

41.5.9 The batsmen at the wicket shall decide which of them is to face the next delivery.

41.5.10 The umpires together shall report the occurrence as soon as possible after the match to the Executive of the offending side and to any Governing Body responsible for the match, who shall take such action as is considered appropriate against the captain, any other individuals concerned and, if appropriate, the team.

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What they are saying

Not Quinton's fault

Zaman did not blame de Kock. "The fault was mine as I was too busy looking out for (non-striker) 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," he said.

"The rest is up to the match referee, but I don't think it's Quinton's fault."


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Quite clever

Meanwhile, South African skipper Temba Bavuma defended de Kock. "It was quite clever from Quinny," he said.

"Maybe some people might criticise it for maybe not being in the spirit of the game. 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 the 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."

First instance

Australia's Marnus Labuschagne became the first player to be penalised under the "fake fielding" law, which was introduced by the ICC in 2017.

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