In one of the most bizarre turn of events, a South African batsman was given out obstructing the field as he played a shot and the ball stopped just before hitting the stumps. Jiveshen Pillay, the unlucky batsman, picked up the ball and passed it on to the keeper. This took the cricketing world by surprise as for a long time now we have seen batsman throwing the ball back to the fielding team when the ball is dead.
Several former and current players have criticised the decision. Australian Test legend Mark Waugh described the incident as “Disgraceful”. The batsman was given out according to law 37.4, which 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.”
However, the MCC later explained that when the batter touches the ball, he or she could change the condition of the ball which would be unfair to the bowling team. MCC said:
“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 fielder’s field.”
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting also made his views clear on the matter and said:
“You just know, don’t you? Don’t you know you can’t pick the ball up until the fielding team tells you you can pick the ball up. It’s their job to field. They can come and get it. If it’s at my feet I’m not getting it for them. That’s just the way I was.”
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