In an attempt to address several key issues in the game, the International Cricket Council (ICC) recently introduced some drastic changes to the rules in cricket. Implemented from 28 September, the fresh alterations in regulations range from limiting bat sizes to fielding restrictions.
While there has already been a long debate about some of the new regulations, the 'fake fielding' clause has already found its first victim in an Australian domestic team.
The ongoing JLT Cup - a limited-overs cricket tournament - provided one of the first instances where the new rule pertaining to on-field play was put into practice by the umpires. The new rule was introduced to prevent 'fake fielding' which often creates doubts in the minds of batsmen that could lead to their dismissals.
Playing in the JLT Cup clash between Queensland Bulls and the Cricket Australia (CA) XI on Friday, Marnus Labuschagne's error saw the umpired adding five additional runs to CA XI's total for his 'fake fielding'. The incident occurred in the 27th over of CA XI's innings when Labuschagne dove to his right and failed to stop the ball which was hit in his direction by batsman Param Uppal.
The Queensland Bulls fielder had visibly failed to collect the ball, but as the batsmen were scurrying for a run, he faked to have stopped it and gestured throwing it towards the wickets. CA XI batsman Clint Hinchliffe got alarmed and increased his pace to complete the run, only to realise that Labuschagne had faked the throw.
The umpire were quick to spot the mistake - a violation of rules - and immediately signalled the scorers to add five more runs to CA XI's total, despite Labuschagne's apology. The Queensland Bulls were charged five penalty runs according to the new ICC rule of ‘intentionally deceiving or distracting a batsman'.
While the new rule will now be seen taking a toll on fielding violations - courtesy ICC, it was already implemented in Australian cricket even before the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) introduced their updated laws on the game earlier this year.