Captain Sarfraz Ahmed is nursing a swollen forearm after copping a short ball by Australia’s Mitchell Starc during his outstanding innings of 94 on the first day of the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
If Sarfraz is unable to take to the field on Wednesday, Mohammad Rizwan may substitute him as the wicketkeeper in the ongoing Test. But Rizwan is not even part of Pakistan’s squad for the second Test, so is the substitution even possible? As per revised ICC rules, yes.
Rules introduced last year will allow Pakistan to look into the option of calling up a substitute wicketkeeper in case captain Sarfraz Ahmed is unable to take the gloves on the second day of the second Test against Australia in Abu Dhabi.
Sarfraz was hit on his left forearm by a Mitchell Starc short ball when he was on 90, in the 70th over of Pakistan’s innings. After getting some treatment, he batted on for a couple of overs before holing out off Marnus Labuschange for 94.
He then kept wicket for the seven overs Australia batted, not looking comfortable, but still taking an excellent, diving leg-side catch to dismiss Usman Khawaja.
When he turned up at the end of the day to speak to media, it was with an icepack strapped to his left forearm.
“The arm is not moving properly,” he said. “It’s a bruise, but I think it will have swelling later. I think Mickey [Arthur] was talking to the umpires about a reserve wicketkeeper tomorrow. That time when I was hit, I felt pain, but I hung on because I was approaching my century.
“I think had it been more forceful, then I would not have been able to bat properly after that, but I hope that with icing, it will get better.”
Substitute fielders were earlier not allowed to bat, bowl or keep wickets when they took the field in place of an injured player but the MCC, guardians of the Laws of Cricket, last year introduced a rule confirming that substitute fielders will be allowed to keep wicket should the original wicketkeeper suffer an injury during play. The umpires have to okay the change, and it is understood that match officials will allow another wicketkeeper should Sarfraz not be able to come out.
In the ICC’s Test match playing conditions, clause 1.2.1 states that each captain can nominate up to six substitute fielders on the team sheet handed to the match referee before the toss.
When a reporter asked Sarfraz during his post-match press conference what he was discussing with field umpires Sundaram Ravi and Richard Illingworth, The skipper said, he was informing them that if he is unable to keep wickets then the team will field Rizwan, who is currently with the Pakistan ‘A’ squad in Dubai.
A similar situation occurred on October 13, when West Indies wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich suffered an injury to his knee and went off the field during day two of the second Test against India in Hyderabad. Although West Indies had Shai Hope who could keep wickets in the playing XI, Jahmar Hamilton, a substitute, replaced Dowrich as the wicketkeeper.
There’s another example: earlier this year, wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel injured his finger during the third Test between India and South Africa in Johannesburg, and was replaced by substitute wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.