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What is a Concussion Substitute or Concussion Replacement Rule in Cricket?

In cricket, a substitute is the replacement of an injured or ill player with a fit player. There are various types of substitutes in Cricket such as Tactical Substitute, Concussion Substitute and the recent COVID-19 Substitute. In this article, we have provided information related to the Concussion Substitute. 

Why in News?

On 4 December 2020, Virat Kohli-led Indian Cricket Team won its first T20I match in the three-match series against Australia. The controversy erupted for the first time during India's ongoing tour of Australia when leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal came in as a Concussion Substitute for all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja in the opening T20I match and hogged the limelight as the 'Man of the Match'.  

What was the incident?

On the second ball of the last over, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was struck on the helmet whilst batting but wasn't checked by the Indian team physio on the spot (after the incident happened) and continued playing three more balls, hitting two boundaries. 

In the previous over, the Indian physio went to treat Jadeja's hamstring as he was struggling with his running between the wickets. The injury questioned his participation in the rest of the match.  

Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal took to the field as a Concussion Substitute in the second innings. India's request for a Concussion Substitute during the innings break was approved by the Match Referee. However, this decision didn't go down well with Australia's coach Justin Langer who had a heated conversation with Match Referee David Boon. 

Why the controversy arose?

As per the 'like-for-like' replacement rule set by ICC, Ravindra Jadeja is an all-rounder and an all-rounder should have replaced him instead of leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. However, Yuzvendra Chahal was the only player in the Indian squad with the same skill-set as that of Ravindra Jadeja-- 'Spinner'. 

Secondly, ICC rules for Concussion Replacement states that the injured player must be examined by the Medical Representative at the end of the over in which the player is hit (if the player resumes play after having sustained a blow on the head). However, in India vs Australia T20I match, the Indian innings ended with the end of the over and India requested for a replacement in the innings break after Jadeja was examined in the dressing room. 

Match Referee David Boon approved Yuzvendra Chahal as the Concussion Replacement for Ravindra Jadeja as both of them are spinners and Jadeja was most likely to bowl his four overs. 

What is a Concussion Substitute?

In July 2019, the International Cricket Council (ICC) agreed to the use of Concussion Substitute in all the International Cricket formats. However, the Substitute must be a "like-for-like replacement" and should be approved by the Match Referee.

Playing Conditions for Concussion Substitute:

As per Rule 1.2.7, a Concussion Replacement may be permitted in the following circumstances:

(a) Rule 1.2.7.1 states that the head or neck injury must have been sustained during play and within the playing area. 

(b) Rule 1.2.7.2 states that a Concussion or suspected Concussion must have been formally diagnosed by the Team Medical Representative.

(c) Rule 1.2.7.3 states that the Medical Representative of the Team shall submit a Concussion Replacement Request to the ICC Match Referee on a standard form with the identity of the player to be replaced, description of the incident, time, symptoms and the name of the nominated Concussion Replacement. 

(d) Rule 1.2.7.4 states that the request must be submitted within 36 hours of the incident. 

As per Rule 1.2.8, a Concussion should be ordinarily approved by the Match Referee provided that the replacement is a like-for-like player whose inclusion will not excessively advantage his team for the remainder of the match.

(a) Rule 1.2.8.1 states that 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.

(b) Rule 1.2.8.2 states that if the ICC Match Referee believes that the inclusion of the nominated Concussion Replacement 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.

As per Rule 1.2.9, the decision of the Match Referee in relation to any Concussion Replacement Request shall be final and neither team shall have any right of appeal.

As per Rule 1.2.10, once the Concussion Replacement has been approved by the ICC Match Referee, the replaced player shall play no further part in the match.

As per Rule 1.2.11, both the Concussion Replacement and the replaced player shall be considered to have played in the match for records and statistical purposes.

First Concussion Replacements

1- In Men's Cricket: In 2019, during the Second Test match at Lords between England and Australia, Australia's Steve Smith was hit on the neck by English Cricketer Jofra Archer in the first innings. Marnus Labuschagne replaced Steve Smith and came to bat on the final day of the Test. 

2- In Women's Cricket: In 2019, West Indian Cricketer Chinelle Henry was injured after hitting the advertising boards while fielding in an ODI match against India.  Shabika Gajnabi replaced her for the remainder of the match. 

India vs Australia 2020-21 Series: Full Schedule, Dates, Timings, Venues, Formats and Squads

India vs Australia: List of ODI Records

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