‘Fake fielding’ controversy divides cricket as batsman cruelly run out

One of the greatest knocks in one-day international history was cruelly ended after Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman was run out in controversial circumstances.

Fakhar played a lone hand as he made 193 in the visitors’ futile pursuit of South Africa’s mammoth score of 6/341, but was chasing the consolation prize of a double century when he was fooled on the first ball of the final over.

Fakhar, who hit 18 fours and 10 sixes in his incredible 155-ball knock that dragged Pakistan to a final score of 9/324, hit Lungi Ngidi’s delivery to the long-on fielder and called for two runs.

But as he returned to the striker’s end for the second, Proteas wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock pointed excitedly towards the nonstriker’s end. Fakhar, distracted, turned his head and the moment of hesitation was enough to cost him his wicket as a direct hit broke the stumps in front of de Kock.

Quinton de Kock points to the nonstriker’s end, distracting Fakhar Zaman enough to run him out.Source:Twitter

Law 41.5.1 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”, meaning the umpires could have awarded five penalty runs to Pakistan if they’d deemed de Kock’s actions to be deliberate deception or “fake fielding”.

Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma appeared to indicate it was a deliberate move. “It was quite clever from Quinny,” Bavuma 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 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.”

But Fakhar took responsibility for allowing himself to be distracted.

Quinton de Kock points and laughs at Fakhar Zaman’s misfortune. (Photo by Christiaan Kotze / AFP)Source:AFP

“The fault was mine as I was too busy looking out for (nonstriker) 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.”

The game’s laws were changed in 2017 to prevent fielders from attempting to deceive batsman while they’re running between wickets.

Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne was penalised while playing for Queensland in a one-day game after shaping to throw the ball even though it wasn’t in his hand.

Zaman’s astonishing innings could not prevent South Africa winning the second one-day international by 17 runs in Johannesburg on Sunday.

Pakistan seemed to have no chance when they slumped to 7/205 in the 38th over at the Wanderers Stadium before Fakhar launched an assault.

With only his team’s bowlers to keep him company, the left-handed Fakhar, who was on 97 when Faheem Ashraf was the seventh man out, went on all-out attack.

“It was one of the best innings I have seen in my life,” said Pakistan captain Babar Azam.

“It was an incredible innings, probably the best I have come across,” added South African captain Bavuma. “Everything he tried came off.”

South Africa celebrates the dismissal of Fakhar Zaman. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Fakhar Zaman walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal. (Photo by Christiaan Kotze / AFP)Source:AFP

Fakhar, who made a ODI double century against Zimbabwe in 2018, was named man of the match. “I tried my level best,” he said. “That’s my game.

“The wicket was really good, the boundaries were very short and the run rate was going up. I was just hitting the ball.”

South Africa’s win levelled the three-match series.

— with AFP

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