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Atherton: ICC should introduce injury substitutions as Covid-19 precaution

by Wisden Staff 1 minute read

Michael Atherton, the former England captain, has said the sport should consider allowing substitutions for injuries that need hospital treatment as a short-term measure for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking with Shaun Pollock and host Neil Manthorp in the Following On Cricket Podcast, Atherton explored the potential problems that could come up when cricket returns after the Covid-19-enforced break.

One of the problems he highlighted was the processes in place for dealing with injuries, the treatment for which becomes a problem in a biosecure environment. “There will be one or two issues if you think about it,” Atherton said.

“What, for example, happens if a batsman breaks a finger and he’s got to go to hospital for an X-ray? He’s got to leave the bubble and then come back, and if there’s a delay on testing or the results… I think you’ll see one or two compromises.”

Atherton’s suggestion as a solution was to allow for more substitutes as a short-term measure. “In that instance, I think what you’ll see is that there’ll be an extension for the concussion rule,” he said.

“If you remember, Marnus Labuschagne became the first concussion substitute for Steve Smith last year, and what will probably happen, as just a short-term measure, is if there’s an injury that’ll require someone to go to hospital, they’ll probably allow a substitute for that, whether it’s a broken finger or a torn hamstring or whatever.”

International cricket is set to return next month when England host West Indies in a three-Test series, pending government approval. The first Test is set to be played at the Ageas Bowl, with the series moving to Manchester for the second and third Tests.

The venues were particularly chosen as they have hotels on site, which makes it easier to accommodate players and ensure a biosecure environment.

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