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Concussion subs test old tendencies for Australia
espncricinfo 2
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 20:05

Concussion subs test old tendencies for Australia

espncricinfo 2
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 20:05

4:00 PM ETAustralia are coached by a former batsman in Justin Langer who had to have a doorway physically blocked by his captain Ricky Ponting in order to prevent him re-entering the field after a serious blow to the head.

Concussion subs test old tendencies for Australia


In a famous episode, Langer was barred from coming out to bat at the end of a thrilling fourth innings chase against South Africa at the Wanderers in 2006, ultimately achieved by Brett Lee and Michael Kasprowicz with eight wickets down. Langer, despite serious concussion, doggedly put the pads on with 10 runs still to win.

"To tell the truth I dont know what I would have done," Ponting said at the time. "If we needed two to win and he had to go out and be on strike I was probably going to have to declare or do something like that, which would have been pretty hard. He said to me then he wouldnt have spoken to me ever again as long as he was alive. If it comes to that again, I am just going to have to knock him out.

"He was probably only ever going to go out there if he could stand at the non-strikers end. We couldnt risk or afford him having to face any deliveries. Medically over the last couple of days his situation hasnt changed. It was going to take me and probably a few other blokes to keep him in the dressing room if it had got down to that."

That being the case, it is not so surprising that the captain Tim Paine is less than 100 percent sold on the concept of players being withdrawn and substituted from Test matches due to concussion. Even if Cricket Australia and its sports science division have led the way on pushing for concussion substitutes, ever since the death of Phillip Hughes highlighted the vulnerability of the head in 2014.

"I know the rule has come in. I think youll be hard-pressed to make guys pull out of a Test match," Paine said in Southampton. "Its going to be interesting to see how it works.

"Were all for player safety and improving that space. But its new to me as anyone and itll be interesting to see how its worked and policed. I find it quite fascinating that you can replace a guy halfway through a game. Again, well wait and see how that works."

Approval of concussion substitutes for the Ashes as part of the inaugural world Test Championship was a keynote decision at the ICC annual conference in London following the World Cup.

However, it left a few questions open that remain to be answered: will each Test venue have a demonstrably independent doctor on hand to determine concussions at arms length from either team? Will decisions be enforceable irrespective of variable symptoms? Will teams either home or touring stock themselves with additional squad members just in case?

Whatever the answers, the area will be a source of interest throughout the Ashes, given the batteries of pace assembled on either side. Certainly Jofra Archer and Mark Wood will be eager to match the pace of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins by series end, the better for Australia to prepare by way of a bareknuckle internal trial in Southampton this week.

"I think it will be a proper game, Paine said. "Both sides will be looking to win and both sides will have individual players wanting to do really well to press the final case for Ashes selection. We certainly dont expect it peter out on the second innings or play around with a run chase or anything like that. At the moment its a fair dinkum game of cricket and thats been made really clear.
"Over the years the opposition in tour games has, I wouldnt say its got worse but I dont think opposition cricket boards have helped each other prepare as much as they used to. Youve had to find different ways in your preparation to make sure everyone is ready to go for Test match intensity. And obviously a series of Ashes magnitude we thought it was a great idea and as close to a Test match as we think we can get its a perfect preparation."

Usman Khawaja will be the one name missing from the game, as he recovers from a hamstring strain, although Paine left open the possibility that the Test No. 3 may get a bat towards the end of a self-regulated fixture. There is no question as yet regarding his availability for the first Test in Birmingham.

"I dont think hes in serious doubt. Hes in a rehab stage so the decision has been made that he wont at this stage," Paine said. "There is a possibility, maybe, if something were to happen to someone else he might be right for the back end of the game. But we expect him to be fully fit and available for selection for the first Test."