West Indies have sparked the ‘letter of the law versus spirit of the law’ debate after successfully appealing for obstructing the field against South Africa’s Jiveshan Pillay during their U-19 World Cup fixture at Mount Maunganui.
In the fourth ball of the 17th over during South Africa’s innings, Pillay inside-edged a Jarion Hoyte delivery onto the back pad. The ball rolled back towards the stumps but stopped without hitting them. Pillay picked the ball and threw it to West Indies wicketkeeper Emmanuel Stewart, who readily appealed for obstructing the field. After a long discussion, the on-field umpires, Ahsan Raza and Langton Rusere, referred the matter to third umpire Ranmore Martinesz, who upheld the appeal following a series of replays. Pillay was dismissed on 47.
What the Law states
The MCC is the custodian of the Laws of Cricket and its Law 37.4 says: “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.” Pillay apparently didn’t seek the consent of opposition fielders and the third umpire had to go by the letter of the law.
The Spirit of Cricket debate
This is a (sic) absolute joke…not in the spirit of the game. I have done this almost a 100 times,” South Africa Test captain Faf du Plessis posted on Twitter. Former Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson promptly weighed in, tweeting: “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? #healthydebate . Former West Indies quick Ian Bishop, however, described the incident as “unfortunate”. Bishop, who is a commentator for host broadcaster, said: “The batsman isn’t trying to gain an advantage. He is not trying to being unfair. I don’t really necessarily feel as if that’s a good law. It could take a re-look.”
In the 2016 edition of the U-19 World Cup, West Indies fast bowler Keemo Paul was criticised for ‘mankading’ Zimbabwe’s Richard Ngarava, with three runs required in the final over. It was a win or bust contest for the West Indies colts and they clinched the thriller to reach quarterfinals. 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. West Indies eventually went on to win the title.
Windies bow out
The game was a must-win for the West Indies colts, as they lost their tournament opener against New Zealand. They would eventually go down by 76 runs. Batting first, South Africa posted 282/8, riding on Wandile Makwetu’s run-a-ball 99. West Indies, in reply, were bundled out for 206, with seamer Hermann Rolfes (4/33) running through their middle-order. So, the defending champions are out, while South Africa, New Zealand and Afghanistan have qualified for the Super League.
New Zealand race past Kenya
New Zealand thumped Kenya in a group stage game at Hagley Oval in the ICC U-19 World Cup to triumph by 243 runs. In the process, New Zealand accumulated record for second highest score at an U-19 World Cup and opening batsman Jacob Bhula scored the highest individual score at the extravaganza. Elsewhere, Afghanistan defeated Sri Lanka by 32 runs to become the first side to qualify for the Super League from Group D. This result means the winner of Sri Lanka and Pakistan match on Friday, 19 January in Whangarei will become the second side to progress to the Super League from Group D.