Windies U19 caught in spirit of cricket debate

West Indies Under-19 team against South Africa | ICC via Twitter

West Indies Under-19 team against South Africa | ICC via Twitter

A major controversy erupted during the ongoing ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand on Wednesday when South African opener Jiveshan Pillay was given out for obstructing the field of play after he handed the ball back to the West Indies wicketkeeper during their Group A match at Mount Maunganui.

Pillay was helping the opposition by picking the ball with his hand and threw it to the wicketkeeper Emmanuel Stewart, who is also the captain of the West Indies under-19 team. The then West Indies U-19 captain, Shimron Hetmyer, had said he was okay with the appeal despite the on-field umpires asking him to reconsider. However, he subsequently picked up the ball and tossed it to Stewart who then appealed and after umpires consulted, Pillay was given out for obstruction under Law 37.4.

A week after former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum criticised the Hobart Hurricanes for missing a chance to uphold the spirit of cricket by claiming a wicket for obstructing the field at the Gabba, the letter of the law has struck again, this time at the under-19 World Cup in New Zealand.

"This is an unfortunate issue", Bishop told Fox Sports.

- Peter Lalor (@plalor) January 17, 2018Technically the correct decision, but this type of dismissal is different from virtually all others in that the batsman is actually trying to help the fielding team rather than gain advantage.

Ireland produced one of the upsets of the 2015 edition when they astonishingly chased down 305 to stun West Indies at Saxton Oval in Nelson. He is not trying to be unfair.

The third umpire gave the decision in the favour of the fielding side and Pillay had to make the long walk back to the pavilion in a manner he would have never anticipated. The ball has stopped. Can I use some discretion here for the sake of the game and whatever the spirit of the game means? I don't really necessarily feel as if that's a good law. "The batsman is not trying to gain an unfair advantage", he said. As per the new law, introduced previous year, handling the ball rule applies before the striker has "finished playing the ball", while obstructing the field applies afterwards.

"Moving forward, if I'm in such a situation, I'd withdraw the decision to go upstairs".

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