Concussion substitutes set to make international debut in Ashes

The issue is on the agenda at the International Cricket Council (ICC) annual conference taking place in London this week and could come into effect in the Ashes series starting August 1.

Usman Khawaja gets hit on the head off the bowling of Oshane Thomas during the 2019 Cricket World Cup match between Australia and West Indies at Trent Bridge.   -  Getty Images

Cricket authorities are mulling over the idea of introducing concussion substitutes in Test cricket as early as in the upcoming Ashes series starting August 1.

According to an ESPNcricinfo report, the issue is on the agenda at the International Cricket Council (ICC) annual conference taking place in London this week and the changes to playing conditions will almost certainly be approved and implemented quickly, so that all matches played in the World Test Championship, beginning with the Ashes series, will have the same safety protocols in place.

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The death of former Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes after he was struck by a bouncer in a List-A match in 2014 had kicked off the discussion surrounding the usage of concussion substitutes. Cricket Australia had introduced the concept of in their men’s and women’s domestic tournaments and the Big Bash League (BBL) and Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) for the 2016-17 season.

However, CA did not bring it into effect in the Sheffield Shield until the following summer after the ICC amended rules so that games would not lose their first-class status. In October 2017, the ICC had started a two-year trial of concussion substitutes in domestic cricket.

In the recent times, many voices have come in support for more stringent protocols regarding concussion. After CA’s measures, players must leave the field if directed to by a doctor for further testing or in the case of a concussion diagnosis.

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During the recently concluded World Cup, there was a concerted effort to increase education about recognising the symptoms of concussion. Every team had a nominated Team Medical Representative and there was an independent match-day doctor at every game to provide support.

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