Marnus Labuschagne, formerly of Klerksdorp and now of Queensland, has been penalised for ‘fake fielding’.
The Cricket Australia XI received five extra penalty runs after Param Uppal drove a ball towards mid-off, where Labuschagne dived and missed the ball, but faked a throw that led to Uppal initially turning back from the run he had started. However, once Uppal realised the ball had passed Labuschagne, he completed the run.
The MCC’s new 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 wilful.
In a paper summarising the new law changes, the MCC stated specifically that mock 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’, was regarded as unfair and was a target of this new law. Although the MCC’s revised laws come into effect from October 1, the JLT Cup’s playing conditions reflect the upcoming changes, and Labuschagne had the dubious honour of being cast as the first miscreant.
Labuschagne, who left South Africa at an early age and has risen through the ranks from Queensland U17 level, nevertheless scored 61 to help Queensland to a four-wicket win.