Smith’s movement before ball reaches Fawad wasn’t unfair
Fawad Alam went for paddle sweep at Xavier Doherty, anticipating batsman’s action, Smith moved from first slip towards leg slip to intercept the shot. When Fawad played the sweep, he would not have known there was going to be a catcher at leg slip. By the time the ball hit bat, Smith was almost past the wicketkeeper and was able to take a simple catch down the leg side.
The pictorial description of incident is as follows,
The on-field umpires Richard Illingworth and Ahsan Raza discussed the catch with the third umpire Nigel Llong before giving Fawad out.
Following are two MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) Law related to the situation,
Law 41.7 states that “Any significant movement by any fielder after the ball comes into play, and before the ball reaches the striker, is unfair. In the event of such unfair movement, either umpire shall call and signal dead ball.”
Law 41.8 defines significant movement for close catchers as: “For close fielders anything other than minor adjustments to stance or position in relation to the striker is significant.”
In order to clear the misunderstanding, ICC addressed a press conference and said “Given the recent trend of fielders moving in anticipation after a batsman had moved to play a shot, the ICC consulted with the MCC and advised the umpires to use the following interpretation: ‘As long as the movement of a close catching fielder is in response to the striker’s actions (the shot he/she is about to play or shaping to play), then movement is permitted before the ball reaches the striker. On the day, if umpires believe any form of significant movement is unfair (in an attempt to deceive the batsman), then the Law still applies.’ This interpretation was discussed during the Match Officials’ Workshop in Dubai in late September.”
Hence Smith’s movement before Fawad had the chance to play his shot was not deemed to be unfair by the umpires.