Historic! Cricket Australia to allow concussion substitutes in Sheffield Shield

Concussion substitutes follow key recommendations made by the independent Curtain Report which investigated the tragic death of cricketer Phillip Hughes in November 2014. ICC to monitor Cricket Australia trial in Sheffield Shield

cricket Updated: Aug 20, 2017 07:47 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Concussion substitutes,cricket australia,ICC
Concussion substitutes will be introduced in Sheffield Shield cricket after historic ruling. Cricket Australia has been pushing hard for the major amendment to cricket’s 150-year-old playing conditions when a batsman is felled by a bouncer(Getty Images)

The International Cricket Council has decided to allow concussion substitutes for the upcoming season of the Sheffield Shield, and is expected to ratify the same for Test cricket in the next couple of years.

The historic ruling, which allows a player, felled by a bouncer, to get substituted in a like-for-like manner, would allow the substituted cricketer to not just field but bat and bowl as well.

A call for the change was put forth by Cricket Australia for the past couple of years and was also a significant recommendation of the independent Curtain Report that probed the death of former cricketer Phillip Hughes, who died after getting hit on the head during a Sheffield Shield game in 2014.

Australia's batsman David Warner ducks under a bouncer from Pakistan paceman Mohammad Amir during the first day of the third cricket Test match at the SCG in Sydney on January 3, 2017. (AFP/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, Australia batsman David Warner had suffered a blow to his head while batting in a practice match. The explosive batsman tried to pull a short one off Josh Hazlewood but missed it completely, thus retiring out of the game.

Substitution norms currently do not allow a batsman to bowl or bat and is simply allowed to walk on to the pitch as a fielder. This has often forced players to continue for the sake of their team or retire with his side playing with a man down.

But if reports are to be believed, the ICC is now making necessary changes to the Official Classification of Cricket to ratify the ruling following which Cricket Australia is expected to announce the decision.

“Cricket Australia has been a strong advocate for concussion substitutes and we have successfully introduced this into our other competitions,” a CA spokesperson was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph. “We look forward to formalising the introduction of this rule into the Sheffield Shield ahead of this season.”

The ruling means that member countries can now experiment with concussion substitutes from October 1 in their first-class competitions.

In the Matador Cup last year, New South Wales batsman Daniel Hughes had to be subbed for Nick Larkin after the formed suffered a blow to his head off Peter Siddle.

David Warner is hit by a Josh Hazelwood bouncer during day two of the Australian Test cricket inter-squad match at Marrara Cricket Ground on August 15, 2017 in Darwin, Australia. (Getty Images)

Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has voiced his opinion in favour of the change for quite some time now, stating that the apex body should treat concussion injuries seriously. However, the ICC did not allow it for the Shield last year.

Recently, Pakistan cricketer Zubair Ahmed was the latest victim after being hit on the head while batting. However, there have been cases where a fielder has suffered a tragic death in a similar manner, including that of former Indian cricketer Raman Lamba who got hit while fielding at short leg.

First Published: Aug 19, 2017 14:18 IST