Windies skipper Stewart regrets controversial appeal

Emmanuel Stewart

MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand, CMC – West Indies Under-19s captain, Emmanuel Stewart, says he regrets the appeal which led to the controversial dismissal of South African opener Jiveshan Pillay, during yesterday’s International Cricket Council (ICC) Youth World Cup fixture here.

Following the contest at Bay Oval which Young Windies lost by 76 runs, Stewart said while his decision has been within the laws of cricket, it did not reflect the spirit of the game.

“I asked the question and it was given out based on the laws and the rules of the game,” Stewart said.

“But on reflection it wasn’t in the spirit of the game. I think moving forward I would have withdrawn the appeal and that’s how I see it.”

The incident arose in the 17th over of the South Africa innings when the left-handed Pillay inside-edged a drive at fast bowler Jarion Hoyte and then watched cautiously as the ball rolled on the crease and came to a halt next to the stumps.

As has become customary in international cricket, Pillay picked up the ball and tossed it to Stewart who then, to the surprise of many, appealed for obstructing the field. Following a consultation between the umpires, Pillay was then controversially given his marching orders.

Under Law 37.4 regarding ‘returning the ball to a fielder’, it 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 uses his bat or any part of his person, including a hand not holding the bat, to return the ball to any fielder.”

Stewart’s actions drew strong rebuke from current and former international players but South Africa’s head coach Lawrence Mahatlane refused to be drawn into the controversy.

“Our take is very simple. We play to the laws of the game, and it’s part of the laws,” he said afterwards. “It’s happened so hopefully we’ll learn for a long time from it.”

Captain Raynard van Tonder, however, disagreed with Stewart’s actions.

“It is the law of the game but I think there is something like the spirit of cricket. I think if I was in the same situation, I don’t think I would have gone about it the same way.”

The incident rekindled memories of the Mankad controversy during the last Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh two years ago when West Indies again came under heavy criticism for their actions on the field.

Then, bowler Keemo Paul ran out Richard Ngarava for backing up too far, to help the Caribbean side pull off a tense victory over Zimbabwe and reach the quarter-finals. West Indies went on to win the tournament.

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