Virender Sehwag defended India’s usage of a concussion substitute in the first T20I against Australia on Friday, saying the hosts shouldn’t complain because they have reaped its rewards in the past.
After posting a valiant 161/7 on the back of Ravindra Jadeja’s unbeaten 44-run knock, India went on to take the lead in the three-match series with a 11-run victory in Canberra.
While batting, Jadeja was hit on the head and was consequently replaced by concussion substitute Yuzvendra Chahal, who proved crucial for India with his impressive figures of 3/25 in the first T20I.
The 42-year-old former India opener opined that India were absolutely right in getting a concussion substitute for Jadeja as symptoms related to head injuries can show up as late as 24 hours after the hit.
“From our side, it was a right decision as Ravindra Jadeja was not fit to play and could not bowl as well,” Sehwag, who is an expert on ‘Sony Six’, said.
“It was an opportunity which India got because he was hit on the head and when you are hit on the head, nobody can say that concussion will happen at that time. It takes time. You might get symptoms within 24 hours.”
Sehwag feels that Australians shouldn’t be complaining as they were the first beneficiaries of the concussion substitute rule.
“When Steve Smith was hit on the head, Labuschagne came out to bat in place of him and made runs. So, Australia also got that advantage. So I think Australia shouldn’t complain.
“They might have just one contention that Jadeja continued to bat and made runs but when you open your helmet inside the dressing room then you might witness some swelling, you might feel dizziness. There is a possibility.”
“I was hit on the helmet many times so I know how it feels but during our times there were no such rules.”
Indian physio Nitin Patel’s absence on the field of play just after Ravindra Jadeja got hit on the head by a Mitchell Starc bouncer in the final over of the innings is a “breach” of concussion protocol, feels former India batsman-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar.
“There is one important breach of protocol that has happened,” Manjrekar said on ‘Sony Six’ on Friday. “I am sure the match referee will raise with India but one of the main things with that protocol, the moment you get hit on the head, they (physio) have to spend time with the batsman out there, asking how he feels.
“The physio (Nitin Patel in this case) has to come in and there are a certain set of questions that need to be asked. With Jadeja, it just happened, there was hardly any delay and he continued playing,” Manjrekar said.
In fact, former Australia cricketer Tom Moody also raised doubts about severity of Jadeja’s injury since it didn’t require medical attention.
“I have no issue with Jadeja being substitute (sic) with Chahal. But I do have an issue with a Doctor & Physio not being present after Jadeja was struck on the helmet which I believe is protocol now?” asked former Australia cricketer Tom Moody, who is now a coach and a commentator.
Manjrekar on his part said that Jadeja continuing to bat didn’t give any massive advantage to India as they added only nine runs after that but credibility of his injury can be questioned.
“He added just 9 runs, it wasn’t a massive advantage. But after that (hit), there should have been at least 2-3 minutes where India support staff should have come out. And then it would have looked a little more credible.”
However, Manjrekar agreed that match referee David Boon had no option but to allow India a concussion substitute.
“I would say one thing though, David Boon had no choice but to give India the concussion substitute because he would not have the courage to say he wouldn’t allow it because, at the time of impact, no attention was given,” he said.
“He had to give the concussion substitute once the request was made.”
(with PTI inputs)