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Concussion Substitutes Likely Make International Debut in Ashes: Report

Cricketnext Staff |July 17, 2019, 12:13 PM IST
Concussion Substitutes Likely Make International Debut in Ashes: Report

Concussions on the sports field has been a cause of great concern across disciplines in recent months and allowance for substitutes in such a situation is likely to be introduced in men’s cricket during the upcoming Ashes series, which begins on August 1.

The matter is being discussed at the ICC Annual Conference, which is currently being held in London and is expected to conclude on Friday.

A report in ESPNCricinfo suggests that the changes to playing conditions will almost certainly be approved and implemented quickly, so that all matches played in the World Test Championship will have the same safety protocols in place.

The discussion surrounding the use of concussion substitutes has grown since the probe into the unfortunate death of Phillip Hughes in 2014 during a Sheffield Shield match. It also occurs at a time when the wider sports world has become more aware of both the short- and long-term effects of concussion.

Cricket Australia, on their part, introduced concussion substitutes for the men's and women's domestic one-day cups and the BBL and WBBL for the 2016-17 season, and had to wait for clearance from the ICC in May 2017 to make the welcome change in the Sheffield Shield the following year.

The ICC have gone through trials and studied the data from research carried out by CA into cricket-specific effects of concussion.

During the recently concluded World Cup which England won by defeating New Zealand in a thriller in the final at Lord’s, there was a concerted push to increase education around recognising the symptoms of and highlighting the dangers of continuing to play with concussion.

There was also a range of protocols in place: every team had a nominated Team Medical Representative and there was an independent match-day doctor at every game to provide support.

There are challenges to the process of substitutes. During Sri Lanka’s tour of Australia, both Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne were struck on the head and were taken to hospital, only to be subsequently cleared to play.

But the Sri Lankan management team did not include a doctor and so both teams were treated by members of the Australian medical staff.

It is not yet clear if the introduction of the substitute rule will include mandatory levels of medical staff or independent doctors, or if an independent doctor would be required at all international matches.

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