A few weeks back ,  there was a raging controversy on playing  Y. Chahal, an Indian leggie, as a”  like for like” Concussion substitute for injured all rounder , R. Jadeja  in a T20I match ( on 3rd Dec.2020) against Australia. And it turned out that Chahal won the MOM award in that match and India won this game. And Australians were furious about Chahal playing.  In fact their Coach Justin Langer had an argument with ICC Match referee David Boon over this.

Let’s see what’s all about concussion.

Concussions in Sport

Concussions, a type of mild traumatic brain injury, are a frequent concern for those playing sports, from children and teenagers to professional athletes.. In the context of sports-related concussions (SRC), an SRC is currently defined as a “complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by biomechanical forces”.Because concussions cannot be seen on X-rays or CT scans, attempts to prevent concussions have been difficult.

As of 2012, the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada included policies for managing concussion risk.Sports-related concussions are generally analyzed by athletic training or medical staff on the sidelines using an evaluation tool for cognitive function known as the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT), a symptom severity checklist, and a balance test.


Concussion symptoms can last for an undetermined amount of time depending on the player and the severity of the concussion. Concussion symptoms can be described as immediate and delayed. The immediate symptoms experienced immediately after concussions include the following: memory loss, disorientation, and poor balance. Delayed symptoms are experienced in the later stages and include sleeping disorders and behavioral changes. Both immediate and delayed symptoms can continue for long periods of time and have a negative impact on recovery.

Prevention efforts and technologies

There have been numerous attempts at preventing concussions, such as the establishment of the PACE (Protecting Athletes Through Concussion Education) program, which works with the imPACT system, which is currently used by every NFL and some NHL teams.  In 2008, the Arena Football League tested an impact monitor created by Schutt Sports called the “Shockometer”, which is a triangular device attached to the back of football helmets that has a light on the device that turns red when a concussion occurs.

Concussion substitute in CRICKET 

In the mid-2010s there were calls for concussion substitutes who could bat or bowl to be introduced, with increased awareness of the risks of continuing to play following a concussion. New Zealand introduced such a rule for their domestic limited-overs competitions, having had two concussion-related substitutions in 2016. The England and Wales Cricket Board introduced concussion replacements to English domestic competitions at the start of the 2018 season. The replacements can bat and bowl in place of a player with concussion or suspected concussion; match officials have to determine that the new player is a “like for like” replacement.

In July 2019, the International Cricket Council (ICC) agreed to allow the use of concussion replacements in all international cricket matches from 1 August 2019, with substitute having to be a “like-for-like replacement” and approved by the Match Referee.

ICC Playing Conditions

  • In assessing whether the nominated Concussion Replacement should be considered a like-for-like player, the ICC Match Referee should consider the likely role the concussed player would have played during the remainder of the match, and the normal role that would be performed by the nominated Concussion Replacement.
  • If the ICC Match Referee believes that the inclusion of the nominated Concussion Replacement, when performing their normal role, would excessively advantage their team, the Match Referee may impose such conditions upon the identity and involvement of the Concussion Replacement as he/she sees fit, in line with the overriding objective of facilitating a like-for-like replacement for the concussed player.

The rules were implemented for saving a team from having a disadvantage if one of their players suffers a concussion and is out of the match. The rules also restrict a player from taking unnecessary risks by putting his health on the line in a bid to help his team in a match.

Every circumstance is going to be different depending on when the player is requested to be replaced. If a bowler’s injured and they’ve only got a batting innings left then the decision might be different to if the same player was injured and there was a bowling innings left. It’s very much around the circumstances around the game and the referees will be given guidelines as will the teams how to interpret those, But it’s very much around what is the likely role of the injured player for rest of the match and who is most like-for-like with the role that player will play. The match referee could put conditions on a player being involved. So, if there’s an allrounder replacing a batter then he might put a condition that player is unavailable to bowl during the match. The referee has some flexibility to best accommodate a like-for-like replacement.

Geoff Allardice, ICC General Manager explained before the 2019 Ashes series.

First usage

The first use of such a substitute was during the Second Test at Lord’s in the 2019 Ashes series between England and Australia, when Steve Smith was hit on the neck by a bouncer by Jofra Archer in the first innings. He was later diagnosed as having suffered concussion and was ruled out of the remainder of the Test. Marnus Labuschagne was named as the official replacement for Smith and came to bat on the final day of the Test. And it was a blessing in disguise for Aussies as Manus is going great guns in Tests and in fact he was leading run scorer for Aussies in 2019.

On November 1, 2019, Shabika Gajnabi became the first concussion substitute in women’s cricket when she replaced Chinelle Henry, who was concussed after hitting the advertising boards while fielding in an ODI game against India.

COVID-19 substitute

In June 2020, ICC approved this rule.  It stated that if a player was found COVID-19 positive in the middle of a series, he would be isolated on an immediate basis and would be put into quarantine. The player, who tested positive would further get disallowed from taking part in the remainder of the series.

In October 2020, in the opening round of the 2020–21 Plunket Shield season, Benjamin Lister became the first COVID-19 replacement in a cricket match.[26] Lister replaced Mark Chapman, who reported feeling unwell, inline with the updated International Cricket Council (ICC) playing conditions for a substitute due to COVID.

(Source :  Wikipedia)

Now, in the ongoing BBL 2020 in Australia there are instances of using CONCUSSIONS SUBSTITUTE. .So, this has come to stay in international  sports.  The governing authorities should see that Concussions substitute is used to the benefit of the sports and not detrimental to the sports world over. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s