The ongoing U-19 World Cup has managed to engage viewers and keep the national players involved as well. The group stage encounter between South Africa and West Indies caught everyone’s interest owing to a controversial decision. South African opener Jiveshan Pillay was looking in good touch before falling for 47. He played forward defensive, bent down, and returned the ball (once it stopped) to the wicketkeeper. The West Indians, however, appealed for obstruction off field, and the umpire had to rule in favour of them. This drew flak from many cricketers, present and past. Amidst all this, MCC has stated that there was nothing illegal about the dismissal.

Here’s what MCC’s official website clarified

“This Law has been questioned – why should a batsman be punished for being helpful? The reason behind it is that a fielding team will often take enormous care to maintain the condition of the ball – and they are allowed to do so. Any external influence on the ball – including a sweaty glove – could change its condition unfairly.

“Batsmen are therefore, instructed to leave the ball to the fielding side unless given specific consent to pick it up. It may seem harsh, but a scenario in which batsmen could, without any punishment, interfere with the ball would be far more problematic. Instead, all a batsman needs to remember is not to return the ball to any fielder without consent – as the popular adage goes: batsmen bat, bowlers bowl and let the fielders field.

“There is another matter surrounding the often misunderstood Spirit of Cricket that has arisen around this incident. Some people have questioned whether the fielding captain should have withdrawn his appeal.”

To remind the readers, Law 37.4 of ICC 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.”

Some social media responses

In the end South Africa had the last laugh courtesy a 76-run win. In pursuit of 283, West Indies U-19 folded for 206.