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Concussion Substitute Rule in Cricket – Explained

the author

Buvanesh Thiraviam

date post

May 18, 2024

concussion sub rule


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Cricket in the past used to a team sport where only 11 players can be part of the playing XI in a given match unlike the other sports like Hockey and Football. These sports allow a team to substitute their players in middle of the game and be a part of rest of match officially. 

But in cricket, though there is provision for teams to field substitute(s), they cannot be officially part of their playing XI. In other words, a substitute cannot bat or bowl (2 important departments) and can only field.

However, these changed when the International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced rule of concussion substitute. A concussion substitute rule was normalized by the apex body to counter the growing concerns about injuries to the players on the field, especially neck and head injuries.

This was first implemented in 2019 following a recommendation from ICC Cricket Committee and was subsequently adhered to by all the cricketing governing bodies across the globe.

This rule allows the team to replace the player who has suffered a concussion during a match to have like-to-like replacement or a substitute. This means the player who is coming can continue to do the role of the player whom he has substituted. For instance, if a player concussed during a match is a batter, then the player substituting him/her should also be a batter and the same goes for a bowler. 

To prevent a team from using this as a tactical advantage, there are some criteria to be met for a concussion substitute to be permitted.

How is a player assessed if he/she is concussed?

Once the player gets injured in their neck/head or the ball hits the helmet of a batter, the team’s physio and medical representative enters the field to check on the player. 

Then there will be an assessment by this team and the match referee along with the designated match doctor. The player is then subjected to several tests to see if they have any symptoms of concussion. If it is found to be positive, then the team is allowed to have a like for like replacement and this is done to make sure there is no ungainly advantage for the side.

But this is done after getting a approval from the match referee who is overseeing the game. The concussion substitute will play rest of the match and can contribute to all aspects unlike a normal substitute player.

The main aim of ICC to bring in this rule was to prioritize player safety and allowing the team to properly treat the player who concussed on time without penalizing them. Since concussion are one of injuries that can have severe consequences if not diagnosed then and there, this initiative earned widespread praise.

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