'Horrible sportsmanship': Controversy erupts at U19 World Cup

Joey Riordan

A young cricketer's seemingly unsportsmanlike act has caused uproar at the Under-19 World Cup.

South African opener Jiveshan Pillay was given out for obstructing the field against the West Indies on Wednesday, a decision that's divided the cricket world.

In the incident in Mount Mauganui, Pillay almost chopped on a delivery from West Indies quick Jarion Hoyte, before nervously watching over the ball as it rolled towards his stumps.

Pillay showed restraint to not touch the ball as it moved towards his stumps, but waited until it became stationary before picking it up and passing it back to West Indies wicketkeeper and captain Emmanuel Stewart.

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Pillay makes the mistake of picking up the ball. Pic: ICC

Stewart then appeared to appeal to the umpires for obstructing the field.

Commentators and fans could hardly believe the umpires took the appeal seriously, as they were seen talking with Stewart for a long period before referring the decision to the third umpire.

Pillay's nightmare was confirmed when a decision of 'OUT' was flashed on the big screen, forcing the talented youngster to depart on 47 runs from 51 balls.

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Pillay can't believe the decision. Pic: ICC

The decision immediately had the cricket world talking with many questioning the sportsmanship of the West Indies for maintaining their appeal, despite the fact the ball had stopped.

According to the 'returning the ball to a fielder' section of the obstructing the field rule (Law 37.4), "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.”

The obstructing the field rule was recently in the spotlight after Brisbane Heat batsman Alex Ross was given out in a recent Big Bash match against the Hobart Hurricanes.

It's not the first time the West Indies have been accused of poor sportsmanship at the Under-19 World Cup.

In 2016 they were heavily criticised after winning a game against Zimbabwe when they took the final wicket with a 'Mankad'.