In an awkward turn of events, West Indies and South Africa U19 teams found itself entangled in spirit-of-cricket controversy in the recent match of the World Cup tournament. In the 17th over of the match, South Africa opener Jiveshan Pillay picked up a ball from near the off stump, which was stationary, with an intension to hand it over to the West Indies keeper, who is also the captain of the team. To this, the U19 captain Emmanuel Stewart made an appeal against Pillay for obstructing the field.
After the appeal, third empire Ranmore Martinez was called in and series of replays were evaluated. Interestingly, the reviews suggest that it was in fact, a dismissal. Thus, following the replays, Pillay lost his wicket, sparking several debates on the incident. Faf du Plessis tweeted the dismissal as an “absolute joke”, saying he did it “100 times”. The captain mentioned the incident as against “the spirit of the game”. To his Tweet, Mitchell Johnson replied that ‘maybe’ Plessis ‘should stop doing it’. Johnson stated it’s against the law to pick a ball closer to the stump.
Per Law 34.4 of ICC Codes, “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.” After the dismissal, SA Coach reacted that it has happened and he hopes the team learn a lesson from the incident for a long time. Coach Laurence Mahatlane also added that the team plays to the laws of the game and the dismissal was a part of the law.
A commentator of the game, Ian Bishop said the issue was ‘unfortunate’, as he evaluated the batsman of not trying to gain any advantage. He said, the ball actually stopped and it was not threatening the stumps. West Indies also faced a similar criticism in the previous World Cup season of 2016 when Keemo Paul dismissed a Zimbabwe batsman with a Mankad.