The Confusion over the Concussion Substitute

The concussion substitute of RavinderJadeja by YuvendraChahal during the first T20 match played between Australia and India after the 3 ODI in India’s tour to Australia has resulted in enough discussions in cricket world.  Jadeja was hit by Mitchell Starc on his helmet in the final over of the first innings of the first T20.  Scoring 44 out of 23 balls, Jadeja helped India to reach a decent score. Chahal, who replaced Jadeja took 3/25 giving India a stunning win. As per the concussion substitute rule, the substitute should be a ‘like-for-like’ replacement for the player who leaves the field due to concussion. Was Chahal a like-to-like concussion substitute for Jadeja? Adding intensity to the same question, Chahal became the first concussion substitute to win the Man of the Match award.

What is this much-hyped rule about concussion substitute? The concussion substitute rule was introduced in cricket in August 1, 2019. According to this rule, the International Cricket Council allows players who suffer concussions during a match to be substituted by a ‘like-for-like’ player. The emphasis on ‘like-for-like’ player has raised many debates since its introduction in 2019. However, the match referees will have a huge say on the concussion replacement. The ICC rule also specifically notes that in case if a like-to-like player is not available, the match referee may cancel the option to introduce a concussion substitute. This is to ensure that the introduction of the substitute in not giving any extra advantage to the team. This is why the replacement of all-rounder Jadeja by a bowler Chahal caused much tension in and out the field. The first-ever concussion replacement was done in the history of cricket in the 2019 Ashes test match between Australia and England. Steve Smith, batting on 80 was hit by a bouncer by the England pacer Jofra Archer in the first innings of the second test match. Smith fell immediately as the ball hit the back of his neck which was not protected by the helmet. MarnusLabuschagne came as a concussion substitute for Steve Smith. This, was a like for like replacement, as both Smith and Labuschagne were middle-order batsmen. Labuschagne was the first concussion substitute and in fact, the first-ever substitute in a test match.

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