Australian summers are increasingly becoming a worry for the cricketing fraternity. Two years since the tragic death of Phillip Hughes after being hit by a bouncer, the Australian team underwent yet another scary moment when 20-year-old Matt Renshaw was hit in the helmet by a shot from Pakistani batsman Sarfraz Ahmed in the third match of the Australia vs Pakistan Test series at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Thursday, January 5.
England-born Renshaw, who slammed 184 in the first innings of the match, was also hit on his helmet visor by Mohammad Amir on Day 1 when batting at 91. The next blow came two days later while the youngster was fielding at short leg.
The young Australian opener was diagnosed with concussion and ruled out of the remainder of the Test match. That the incident had affected the Australian team psyche was understood when the team's doctor Peter Brukner said it is high time the International Cricket Council (ICC) needs to seriously look into the idea of a concussion substitute.
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Following Hughes's death in November 2014 during a domestic match at the same SCG, Cricket Australia (CA) conducted an investigation and introduced a rule for its domestic cricket allowing a concussion substitute but the player needs to be a like-for-like replacement. A concussion substitute can be used in men's and women's domestic matches, the Big Bash League and the Women's Big Bash League and matches sanctioned by CA. However, this rule was not to apply for Sheffield Shield matches after the ICC rejected the proposal.
After the Renshaw incident, the issue is expected to return to the discussion table in the cricket's top governing body.
"We've introduced it into non-first class cricket in Australia and it seems to be successful. I think it needs to be looked at seriously by the ICC. (The) concern we have without a concussion sub is that (there can be) pressure from the player and coach on the doctor to allow the player to continue, so would be helpful in that regard if there was a sub (rule to) make it easier to pull players with a concussion".
"That's for the ICC and politicians to sort out. In this case, the coach and captain have been absolutely superb and supportive. I have had no pressure to keep Matthew in the game," Cricbuzz quoted Brukner as saying.
The Australian team doctor, however, said that Renshaw would be fit for Australia's upcoming tour of India.
"Recovery from concussion is variable and can take hours (or) days. We will wait until he is clear of symptoms. Matt doesn't have any commitment in the next couple of weeks...he has time to recover" he said.