Shashank Kishore in Mount Maunganui
West Indies have once again ignited the spirit-of-cricket debate at the Under-19 World Cup, when they appealed against South Africa opener Jiveshan Pillay for obstructing the field in their Group A fixture in Mount Maunganui.
Emmanuel Stewart, the West Indies captain and wicketkeeper, made the appeal after Pillay picked up the ball close to off stump, even though it was stationary after rolling off an inside edge. The third umpire Ranmore Martinesz was called in and the decision went in West Indies’ favour after a long wait and a number of replays. The incident occurred in the 17th over of South Africa’s innings, when they were 77 for 2.
‘This is an absolute joke…not in the spirit of the game .I have done this almost a 100 times.’
‘Maybe you should stop doing it. Whether we like or not, it’s law in the game. As for spirit of the game, the players didn’t do anything wrong right?’
Once the decision was referred to the TV umpire, it was going to be difficult to give the batsman not out unless Stewart and West Indies withdrew the appeal. Law 37.4, which deals with ‘returning the ball to a fielder’, states: “Either batsman is out obstructing the field if, at any time while the ball is in play and, without the consent of a fielder, he/she uses the bat or any part of his/her person to return the ball to any fielder.”
South Africa Under-19 coach Laurence Mahatlane was measured in his reaction during the innings break. “Our take is very simple: we play to the laws of the game and it’s part of the laws,” he said. “It’s happened and hopefully we’ll learn for a long time from it.”