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COVID-19 substitutes for Test matches: ECB official says ICC discussing the prospect

  • The International Cricket Council is mulling the possibility of introducing COVID-19 substitutes in a Test match.
  • Last year, the ICC implemented 'like for like' substitutes; a similar rule with a tweak for COVID-19 might be seen.
Abhinav Singh
Modified 08 Jun 2020, 20:06 IST
Steve Smith was the first player to be ever substituted
Steve Smith was the first player to be ever substituted

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is mulling the possibility of introducing substitutes if a player tests positive for COVID-19 during the duration of a Test match.

Steve Elworthy, Director of Special Projects of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), who is also leading English cricket’s bio-secure operational plans, stated in an interview to SkySports:

"COVID replacements are certainly something that the ICC are discussing," said Elworthy.

These developments come at the heels of the ICC's decision last year to allow ‘like for like’ substitutes across formats to replace concussed players during matches. Steve Smith was the first player to be substituted for concussion by Marnus Labuschagne in the Ashes last year, after getting hit by a vicious Jofra Archer bouncer.

Elworthy said a similar rule with a certain tweak for COVID-19 is in the pipelines.

“That replacement would have to be a ‘like for like’ player... Our on-site COVID medical practitioner and Public Health England would be informed immediately and that player would then be put into isolation for a period of time,” said Steve Elworthy.

Steve Elworthy further added that going by the communication, the change in laws, if implemented, will be for the Test matches only.

 “I’ve seen communication about that and it’s certainly something we hope would be allowed — specifically for Test matches, not necessarily ODIs (one-day internationals) or T20s (Twenty20),” added Elworthy.


Hope for the best but prepare for the worst

The ECB chose the bio-secure venues after much deliberation. Elworthy mentioned that with the testing protocols already in place at the bio-secure venues, they hope that there wouldn’t be a scenario (COVID-19 substitute) they'd have to deal with.

However, he did add that the ICC was preparing for any contingency:

“But clearly it’s something we are planning for,” said Steve Elworthy.

Dates and venues already announced

The ECB has already announced the dates and venues for the Test series between England and West Indies, which is set to be played behind closed doors subject to approval from the UK government. The first Test is scheduled to start on July 8th at the Hampshire Ageas Bowl.

The Caribbean team will arrive in the UK on June 9, from where they will travel to Old Trafford for a mandatory three-week period of quarantine and training. Cricket West Indies has also released a 25-man squad for the Test series.

Published 05 Jun 2020, 10:32 IST
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