Concussion substitute Yuzvendra Chahal took three wickets as India beat Australia by 11 runs in the first Twenty20 match in Canberra on Friday but the win was soured by an apparent hamstring injury to all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
In a contest laced with controversy, Jadeja top-edged into his helmet in the final over but was not tested for concussion on the field at Manuka Oval.
He ended up scoring a valuable nine runs off the last three deliveries to push his team to a defendable total of 161 for seven.
Jadeja, however, was ruled out during the innings break, and Australia coach Justin Langer had a heated argument with match referee David Boon before the home side began its chase at Manuka Oval.
What was the issue?
Indian all-rounder Jadeja was struck on the helmet on the second ball of the final over of the first innings from Mitchell Starc. And an over earlier, Jadeja had suffered a right leg injury.
Jadeja did not undergo a concussion test at the time, continuing his innings and hitting nine runs off the final three balls. The left-hander was struck flush on the helmet via a top edge so it was surprising he was not examined at the time as has become commonplace in cricket.
Jadeja called for a trainer in the 19th over as he struggled to bat with his injury but he gathered himself to hammer 24 runs off the last seven balls faced in his unbeaten 44.
However ICC regulations also permit the concussion test to be conducted at the end of the over, which in this case coincided with the innings break.
Later India replaced Ravindra Jadeja with spinner Yuvendra Chahal as a ‘CONCUSSION’ substitute which proved beneficial to the tourists.
After this ploy of India, Langer was seen in terse conversation with Boon before the start of the chase, with the Australian coach seemingly irate at India’s use of the concussion substitute.
However, Australia’s issue was not to do with India replacing an injured player with a fit one but rather whether Jadeja, an all-rounder, and Yuzvendra Chahal, an out-and-out bowler, satisfied the like-for-like requirements of a concussion substitute.
Here’s what experts have to say:
Should he have had a concussion test there and then?” Mark Waugh asked on Fox Cricket. “He would not have been able to bat.”
“You would think the Australian management would be saying wouldn’t there be protocols that need to be met to make that judgement,” Gilchrist added. “Because he scored the lion’s share of his runs after that.”
“You can’t have it both ways,” Waugh said. “You can’t have a substitute who can then bowl for you and then bat on.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan was suspicious of the concussion to Jadeja, tweeting he sniffed a “rat”.
“No doctor or physio came out to test Jadeja for concussion… he then looks like his [sic] has done something to his leg… then they pull the concussion replacement!!! #RatSniffed.”
Moises Henriques indicated Australia’s issue with the substitution was not the validity of Jadeja’s concussion but whether the man who replaced him was truly a like-for-like swap.
“When you’ve got professionals in place to make those decisions, and there’s no doubt he got a knock on the helmet, so from my point of view I do like to see the best in everyone,” Henriques said after the game.
“But having said that, whether it was a like-for-like replacement that’s the question we’d like to see.
“There’s no doubt he got a knock on the head, and when you’ve got doctors making those decisions to say he can get a concussion sub then those decisions need to be made.”