The de Kock-Fakhar affair: MCC says ‘up to the umpires to decide’ if act was wilful

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The debate is whether de Kock was trying to deceive the batsman or signalling to his team-mates

The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has weighed in on Fakhar Zaman‘s contentious run-out on Sunday night in the second ODI against South Africa, saying it was “up to the umpires to decide” if Quinton de Kock had attempted to distract or deceive the batsman.

The run-out, with Zaman on 193, took place in the final over of Pakistan’s chase of 342, when they needed 31 from six balls. The batsmen – Zaman and Haris Rauf – were trying to complete a second run, which seemed on, and wicketkeeper de Kock gestured towards the bowler’s end even as Zaman neared the batting end. Zaman appeared to slow down, and a direct hit from Aiden Markram at long-off caught him short.

Later on, the MCC Twitter handle posted the law related to the dismissal – about a fielder wilfully attempting to distract, deceive or obstruct either batsman – but without really saying if de Kock was guilty or not.

The debate around de Kock’s gesture was whether he was intentionally attempting to deceive Zaman into thinking that the throw was headed for the other end – which could have led to Zaman slowing down and turning around – or whether de Kock was instead signalling to the fielder or bowler.

Under Law 41.5 of the MCC, about “deliberate distraction, deception or obstruction of batsman”, Law 41.5.1 says: “… 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”, and Law 41.5.2 says, “it is for either one of the umpires to decide whether any distraction, deception or obstruction is wilful or not”.

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