In the fifth and the final Test match of the ongoing Ashes Series which is being played at the Oval, a rare incident happened. England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow performed an act of ‘fake fielding’ to put pressure on Australian run machine Steve Smith which is deemed as a violation of laws of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

It was the second day of the Oval Test match when, on a Jofra Archer delivery, Smith played a shot towards long on and immediately called for two runs. Smith eased for the first run but when he took off for the second run towards the striker’s end, the wicket-keeper at that end, Bairstow, acted as if the throw is coming towards him and he is about to run Smith out.

Consequently, Smith had to put in a full stretched dive to try and make his ground when in reality the ball was being thrown at the bowler’s end.

Australian cricketers objected to ‘fake fielding’

After this particular act of the England wicketkeeper Bairstow, many Australian cricketers have objected his act. Aussie pace bowler Andrew Tye asked on Twitter, “Is that not fake fielding?”

Similarly few others have asked for the penalty of five runs which is given to the batting team when such an act is performed but was not awarded on this particular decision.

The ICC Law in consideration

According to ICC Law 41.5.1 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.

However, whether the act is wilful or not depends shall be decided by the umpires on present on the field.

5 runs awarded as penalty

The umpires are further bound by law to award the batting team five runs as penalty and inform the captain of both the sides the reason to do the same.

Marnus Labuschagne was the first to be penalised

Under the ‘Fake fielding’ law, the first player to be penalised was Marnus Labuschagne as he fake fielded while playing for Queensland against Cricket Australia XI. As a result, Cricket Australia XI were given five runs.