Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar on Monday said the spirit of the game was hurt by Quinton de Kock’s gesture that led to the much-talked-about run-out of opener Fakhar Zaman on 193 during the 2nd ODi against South Africa in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Shoaib Akhtar, speaking on his YouTube channel, said he wouldn’t call Quinton de Kock’s act ‘cheating’ but insisted that the South Africa wicketkeeper-batsman shouldn’t have done what he did during the Proteas’ 17-run win.
Quinton de Kock’s sportsman spirit has been questioned after he was alleged to have run Fakhar Zaman out by employing fake fielding tactics. Fakhar single-handed onslaught led Pakistan close to the finish line in a steep chase of 342 runs. The Pakistan opener, despite very little support from the rest of his teammates, hit 193 from just 155 balls, smashing 10 sixes and 18 boundaries.
However, Zaman was not able to help Pakistan successfully gun down the target as he was run out in the first delivery of the final over wherein the visitors needed 31 runs.
Fakhar’s run-out has left the cricket fraternity divided as Quinton de Kock’s cheeky gesture came under the scanner. The left-handed batsman was comfortably positioned to complete a 2nd run after he hit one towards the cover boundary. However, a direct hit from the deep by Aiden Markram ended the valiant effort as he was run-out at the striker’s end.
Replays showed that de Kock tricked Fakhar into believing that the throw was going to the non-striker’s end. While Zaman was still in the process of completing the second run, de Kock seemingly raised his hand and singalled towards the non-striker’s end.
“What Quinton de Kock did, I wouldn’t call it cheating, but it was not in the good spirit of the game,” Akhtar said.
“The spirit of the game was hurt which I didn’t like. Quinton de Kock is a great player and he shouldn’t do it deliberately. Fakhar thought that when the throw was made, it would come to the non-striker’s end and he also made the same gesture,” he added.
I felt bad: Akhtar on Fakhar missing 200
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodians of the laws of the game, issued a statement on Monday, saying it’s to the umpires to decide whether Quinton de Kock deliberately distracted Fakhar Zaman.
According to MCC’s rule “41.5 Deliberate distraction, deception or obstruction of batsman”, 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.
Fakhar, who had hit the highest score by a batsman batting 2nd in ODIs, missed out on becoming only the 2nd batsman after Rohit Sharma to hit two double hundreds in the 50-over format of the game.
“I felt bad because I wanted Fakhar to become the only Pakistani batsman to have two double hundreds. If those penalty runs were given to Pakistan, they would have won the game easily. But I was disappointed that the decision wasn’t made then and there. There was no awareness of the game.
“When the match-referee is watching everything, getting replays again and again but still, you are unable to make the decision. You make a referral for a no-ball, an edge and everything else, but why did they have a problem implementing the laws here? My biggest question is this,” Akhtar added.