February 25, 2018

Guyana’s Keemo Paul in full support of Stewart after World Cup drama

By Akeem Greene

Former Windies under-19 vice-captain Keemo Paul has pledged his support to current captain Emmanuel Stewart after the player was the centre of the latest controversy to hit the ICC Youth 50-over World Cup which is being held in New Zealand.
South Africa opener Jiveshan Pillay was given out obstructing the field after picking up the ball and returning it to wicketkeeper Stewart after it stopped close to the stumps.
Stewart appealed for the batsman’s dismissal and on review from third umpire, the player who was on 47, was given out.
According to the article 37.4 of the Laws of cricket, “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”.
Paul told Guyana Times International Sport on Wednesday, “It is in the rules of the game. It is appropriate to appeal if you think it is out. It is all in the rules so we can fault him for what is right.”
The 19 year-old added, “Yes I will support him. I am a West Indian so the support is definitely there.”
At the post match press conference Stewart said his decision to uphold the field appeal “wasn’t in the spirit of the game.” He stated precisely, “I asked the question and it was given out based on the laws and the rules of the game but on reflection it wasn’t in the spirit of the game. I think moving forward I would have withdrawn the appeal.”
Paul who is now one of Guyana Jaguars leading all-rounders explained that the decision to withdraw the appeal is always with the captain.
“In the games they always ask if you want to go through with the appeal or not and it was in his power to withdraw the appeal if he wanted to. I won’t know his plan of thinking at that time but he went through with it.”
The incident sparked social media frenzy with many former great players and commentators voicing their displeasure or support.
Learned commentator and former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop took to twitter and stated, “Law needs changing but don’t criticise West Indies U19s. These are kids learning their way on the path to being adults.”
A section of the preamble to the law of the cricket concerning the ‘Spirit of Cricket states, “The major responsibility for ensuring fair play rests with the captains, but extends to all players, umpires and, especially in junior cricket, teachers, coaches and parents. Respect is central to the Spirit of Cricket. Respect your captain, team-mates, opponents and the authority of the umpires. Play hard and play fair. Accept the umpire’s decision.”
Paul in his concept of the ‘Spirit of cricket’ stated “There is no specific definition but it’s all a part of cricket. What is in the rules and you play by the rules so you cannot really fault anybody if they do what’s in the rules.”
At the victorious 2016 World Cup campaign in Bangladesh, Paul himself was the heart of controversial mankad against Zimbabwe which sent his team into the knockout phase. However, the man from Saxacalli prefers not to gather a dismissal by that rule again. “I don’t think I would do it if the situation arises again. It caused a lot of controversy and a lot of things were said. I don’t think if it ever comes down to that again I would go that route.”