Controversy gripped the U-19 World Cup after South Africa middle order batsman Jiveshan Pillay was given out obstructing field in their Group A match against West Indies at Mount Maunganui on Wednesday.
In the 17th over of the South African innings, Pillay, batting on 47 miscued a cut shot and almost dragged it on to his stumps. After getting a thick inside edge, Pillay did well to use his bat to stop the ball from rolling over onto his stumps. When the ball appeared to have stopped and had no chance of going anywhere, Pillay picked it up with his hand to throw it back to West Indies wicket-keeper and captain Emmanuel Stewart.
Stewart not amused with the uncalled for generous act from the batsman, decided to appeal for obstructing field. The on field umpire rightly decided to go upstairs. It took roughly five minutes for the TV umpire to make up his mind and rule it in favour of the fielding side to utter disgust of the commentators. Pillay had to take the long walk back and heated discussions followed afterwards.
Rule No. 37.4 says either batsman given is out obstructing the field if, at anytime while the ball is in play and without the consent of the fielder, he uses his bat or any part of his person, including a hand not hiding his bat, to return the ball to any fielder.
Pillay, on this occasion used both his bat and hands but it was certainly not to obstruct the field as the ball had no chance of rolling back to his stumps. His only fault was he did not inform the opposition keeper before the picking up the ball.
The West Indies team drew a lot flak for disturbing the spirit of the game for their unceremonious act on the field.
This was not the first time the West Indies colts attracted controversy in the U-19 World Cup. In the previous edition in Bangladesh, they entered the quarterfinals under tensed scenario after medium pacer Keemo Paul effected a mankad to claim the last Zimbabwe wicket when they needed just 3 runs in the last over in a do or die match. They went to lift the World Cup by beating India in the finals.
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