In the first of its kind event in cricket history, Marnus Labhuschagne became first-ever concussion substitute for a player when he came on to bat in place former Australian skipper Steve Smith in the second innings of Ashes Lord’s test match.
Steve Smith was stuck on the neck by a 92 mph bumper of Jofra Archer while batting in the first innings. He walked off the field at that point of time for a concussion test but returned after some time to carry on his first innings. But on the final day of the test, he was having some headache following the incident. He explained, “I started to feel a bit of headache coming on last night, probably as the adrenaline got out of my system. I was able to get a good sleep in, which is somewhat rare for me.
“But woke up feeling a little bit groggy and with a headache again, so had some tests done and upon some further assessments deemed to be a mild concussion unfortunately and have been ruled out for of this Test match.”
Cricket Australia released a statement after this episode, “Steve has been closely monitored by medical staff overnight and this morning reported that after sleeping well, he woke with “a bit of a headache and a feeling of grogginess. Steve reported that his left arm which was also struck during his innings yesterday was “much better”.
“As part of the Cricket Australia concussion protocol, repeat concussion testing of Steve Smith was also performed this morning and demonstrated some deterioration from his testing which is consistent with the emergence of the symptoms he was reporting.”
As per new rules, a cricket team can request the Match Referee for a replacement player to bat or ball in place of the injured concussed player and Cricket Australia did that on the final day, “On that basis Steve has been withdrawn from the match by team doctor Richard Saw and the Australia team will lodge an application for a concussion substitute with the ICC match referee in line with the ICC protocol.”
Marnus Labhuschagne, who came on to bat for Smith, scored a stroke-filled 59 off 100 balls to take his team of out choppy waters on the final day. Steve Smith is unlikely to take a part in the Headingley test which would be a massive blow to the Australian team as he has been, by far the best batsman in the series, both teams combined.