The ‘spirit of cricket’ debate broke out after Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman was made run-out in their second of the three-match ODI series against South Africa in Johannesburg on Sunday.
In chase of a steep 342-run target, Pakistan seemed to have no chance when they slumped to 205 for seven in the 38th over. However, Fakhar’s carnage almost took the game away from the hosts before the left-hander was run out in the final over of the game.
Fakhar, on 192, was on his way to becoming only the second batsman after India’s Rohit Sharma to smash two ODI double tons and was also Pakistan’s only hope in their chase of a daunting total. In all, Fakhar hit 18 fours and ten sixes during his 155-ball 193 before being run out in the first ball of the last over by a direct hit from long-off as he was trying for a second run.
With wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock seemingly gesturing for Aiden Markram to throw to the bowler’s end, Fakhar slowed down and was surprised when the ball hit the stumps at the batsman’s end when he was a metre or more short, ending his bold counter-attack.
Pakistan eventually lost the game by 17 runs and that prompted a debate regarding the ‘spirit of cricket’.
And Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) then took to Twitter to explain the law. According to MCC, it is up to the umpires to decide if the fielder actually attempted to deceive the batsman.
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”#MCCLawspic.twitter.com/gUXoBM9ZJ5; Marylebone Cricket Club (@MCCOfficial) April 4, 2021
“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,” MCC tweeted.
In another tweet, it said: “The Law is clear, with the offence being an ATTEMPT to deceive, rather than the batsman actually being deceived. It’s up to the umpires to decide if there was such an attempt. If so, then it’s Not out, 5 Penalty runs the 2 they ran, and batsmen choose who faces next ball.”
However, Fakhar admitted during the post-match press conference that it was his fault as he was looking at Haris Rauf, the batsman at the non-striker’s end, while completing the run.