Marnus Labuschagne first to be penalized for 'fake fielding'
What's the story?
Australian cricketer, Marnus Labuschagne, became the first professional cricketer to be penalised under the MCC's new law against fake fielding. The incident took place in the very first match of the JLT One-Day Cup.
Labuschagne, who was fielding at mid-off for Queensland against Cricket Australia XI, dived and missed the ball that was driven through the covers by Param Uppal. However, the 23-year-old pretended to have stopped the ball and feigned a shy at the stumps.
Queensland were penalized for his actions and five penalty runs were credited to Cricket Australia XI.
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Although the revised laws are supposed to come into effect from October 1, the JLT Cup will feature them in all its matches.
This is why Labuschagne's 'mock fielding' was taken under contempt.
The law that talks about this aspect of the game comes under section 41 of the MCC handbook. Law 41.5 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. The umpires have the discretion to award five penalty runs if they determine that such deception is willful."
In a statement that explained the working of the law, MCC said that fake fielding, "where a fielder feigns to field the ball and/or feigns to throw a non-existent ball in an attempt to prevent the batsmen running," is regarded as unfair and is in direct violation of this law.
The law will soon make way its way into all competitions in domestic as well as international cricket. At such high levels of cricket where the result of a match can be determined by a single run, fielding sides cannot afford to gift five runs to their opposition.
Hence, captains and coaches have to ensure that their younger players do not fall prey to the new law.
While MCC's view on mock fielding and its repercussions makes sense, the penalty seems to be on the harsher side. In most circumstances, it is natural for the fielder to take a shy at the stumps after a fielding effort, regardless of whether he has caught the ball or not.
It is a naturally ingrained mechanism, more so for a bowler who attempts to catch the ball in his follow through. Hence, the ideal way to take this forward would be to give all fielders a long rope as they attempt to incorporate the change.