Twenty20 Cricket World Cup: India star Virat Kohli accused of ‘fake fielding’

Virat Kohli has been accused of “fake fielding” after on-field umpires seemingly missed the Indian cricketer’s misdemeanour during Wednesday evening’s T20 World Cup victory against Bangladesh at Adelaide Oval.

During the seventh over of Bangladesh’s run chase in the South Australian capital, Tigers opener Litton Das slapped a delivery from spinner Axar Patel towards deep point before scampering between the wickets for two runs.

But as Indian seamer Arshdeep Singh retrieved the ball and flung it towards the wicketkeeper’s end, Kohli feigned a throw at the non-striker’s end.

Kohli, who was fielding at backward point, motioned the relay throw as Singh’s throw passed him from the deep.

Law 41.5, which was introduced in 2017, states: “It is unfair for any fielder wilfully to attempt, by word or action, to distract, deceive or obstruct either batter after the striker has received the ball.”

Fraser Stewart, MCC’s Laws of Cricket manager, explained in 2017: “The reason for the introduction of this law was that fielders were deliberately pretending to have the ball as a means of fooling the batsmen, thereby preventing them from taking further runs.

“This was felt to be unfair.”

If on-field umpires Chris Brown and Marais Erasmus had believed that Kohli’s actions were an attempt to intentionally deceive the batter, Bangladesh would have been awarded five penalty runs.

The Tigers ultimately lost the rain affected match by five runs.

Bangladesh wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan mentioned Kohli’s “fake throw” while speaking to reporters after the Super 12 contest.

“It could have been a five-run penalty,” Hasan said, as reported by ESPNcricinfo.

“That also could have gone our way, but unfortunately, even that didn’t materialise.”

Australian cricketer Marnus Labuschagne was the first victim of the “fake fielding” rule, leaping to his feet and mimicking a throw at the stumps during a one-day domestic game for Queensland in September 2017.

Kohli plundered an unbeaten 64 (44) against Bangladesh to become the highest run-scorer in T20 World Cup history, overtaking Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardene.

The 33-year-old is currently the leading run-scorer of this year’s tournament with 220 runs in four knocks at a strike rate of 144.7.

“As soon as I knew the World Cup was in Australia, I was grinning from ear to ear,” player of the match Kohli said in the post-match presentation.

“I knew the kind of experience and game awareness of having played in Australia will come in handy for the team. I absolutely love playing in this ground. Right from the nets at the back, as soon as I enter, it makes me feel at home.

“That knock at MCG was meant to be, but when I come here, it’s like I’m meant to come to Adelaide and enjoy my batting.”

Virat Kohli has been on fire at the T20 World Cup so far.  Photo / Photosport
Virat Kohli has been on fire at the T20 World Cup so far. Photo / Photosport

The Tigers were on track to chase India’s 185-run target at 66-0 after seven overs before Adelaide Oval was struck by rain.

Despite protests from Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan, play resumed in wet conditions with a new DLS target of 151 from 16 overs.

But commentators questioned whether the match had recommenced too early when Das slipped while running between the wickets on the first delivery after the 52-minute rain delay.

The 28-year-old required medical attention on his hand following the fall, causing another delay.

Das, who blasted 60 from 27 balls on Wednesday, was run out the following delivery after once again stumbling between the wickets.

“It was a little slippery with the amount of rain we had,” Shakib said after the match.

“Normally that suits the batting side rather than [the] bowling side. But we shouldn’t make that excuse.”

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