Indian skipper Virat Kohli has expressed support for the new ICC rule on concussion substitutes, saying that it made complete sense to replace a player in such a situation during a test match as the effects of a body blow show up late. “I’m all for it, it makes total sense,” said the Indian skipper after a thumping series win over West Indies by 2-0. Last month, Australian batsmen Steve Smith was also substituted after he suffered a concussion in the second test of Ashes.
The third day of the second test match in Kingston witnessed West Indian batsmen Darren Bravo get struck with a hard blow on the side of his helmet off Jasprit Bumrah’s delivery in the last over. The following day, Bravo resumed his innings, however, he could not continue further as delayed concussion symptoms showed up and he was forced to retire hurt on 23. Jermaine Blackwood was named the concussion substitute for Darren Bravo by West Indies.
Kohli supported the new ICC rule by stating, “Test cricket is very different because on that day you can play but when you come out the next day it's a different situation altogether."
The Concussion Substitute rule was put to effect from 1st August 2019 throughout men’s and women’s international and first-class cricket. The new rule was however introduced after a two year trial in Australia’s domestic cricket competition. This was only the second concussion substitute seen after the rule was introduced and made its debut at the Ashes series this year. The first case was seen during the Ashes Test in Lord’s last month where Steve Smith was hit hard by a blow to his neck off England pacer Jofra Archer’ delivery. Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne was then named the first concussion substitute ever.
The new ICC rule states that a player who has been concussed either while batting, bowling, or on the field can be withdrawn from the game and be replaced subject to approval by the match referee. Kohli said, "You only have 15-16 people in the squad so you don't have more than 5 people to choose from and invariably 3 of them would be bowlers.”
“I don't think there is too much choice there. So whatever substitutes you have you choose from them. 4-5 substitutes are good enough to choose from,” the skipper added.
Kohli also became the most successful Indian test captain surpassing MS Dhoni with 28 wins in 48 matches that he has captained so far. India ended their West Indies tour with a 257-run win in the second test and topped the points tally with 120 points in the ICC World Test Championship after their 2-0 test series win.
(With inputs from PTI)