The past few of days of international cricket have seen several controversial incidents which promises to made more headlines in the days to come. Here’s a look at what made news off the field during the busiest period of international cricket during the COVID-19 era.
Langer fumes as Chahal replaces Jadeja
Moments before Australia began their chase of India’s 161/7 at Canberra’s Manuka Oval on Friday, the head coach Justin Langer was seen animatedly in discussion with ICC match referee David Boone. It came to light not long after that Langer was arguing why India had been allowed a concussion substitute for Ravindra Jadeja, who was clanged on the helmet on the second ball of the first innings by Mitchell Starc, did not undergo a concussion test at the time and proceeded to larrup nine runs off the last three balls to finish unbeaten on 44 from 23 deliveries.
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As per the ICC rules for concussion substitutes, the replacement player must play the a ‘like for like’ role in the remainder of the match, with the match referee having the power to rule on the appropriateness of the substitute. In the India-Australia match, that was of a bowler, as Jadeja would have bowled in the second innings. Jadeja’s concussion substitute, Yuzvendra Chahal, took three wickets and was name Man of the Match, no doubt adding to Langer’s fury.
As it panned out, Jadeja was later ruled out of the rest of the series due to the blow to the head.
Australia captain Aaron Finch stood beside Langer as he shared words with Boone. “He was letting us know that the doctor had ruled Jadeja out with concussion so there’s not much you can say to that,” Finch told Fox Cricket after the game. “You’re not challenging a medical expert in that regard, are you?”
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After the match, Moises Henriques questioned whether Chahal was the right player to replace Jadeja. “I think the only real issue is you’ve got to ask yourself was it a like-for-like replacement? Is he (Jadeja) an out-and-out spinner?” the allrounder told cricket.com.au. “That’s something they may need to look into, but those things are going to happen. There’s no doubt he got a knock on the head from my point of view. Whether it was a like-for-like replacement – that’s the question we’d like to see. One (Jadeja) is an allrounder and a gun fielder, and the other is an out-and-out bowler who bats 11.”
Morgan defends coded messages from England balcony
During the South Africa vs England T20Is recently, the England team analyst Nathan Leamon was spotted by television cameras showing letter and number combinations such as ‘2C’ and ‘4E’ on cards from the balcony, in a bid to provide skipper Eoin Morgan with real-time information to feed into his decisions. This backroom intervention received the green signal from ICC match referee Andy Pycroft but there has been criticism, most notably from former Test and ODI captain Michael Vaughan who termed the innovation “nonsense” and “a step too far”.
Morgan responded to criticism of him receiving coded messages from England’s dressing room while insisting that there is “nothing untoward” with using data to provide innovation.
“It’s about maximising information that we’re taking in and measuring it against things – coaches’ recommendations, the data, things going on,” said Morgan. “We’ll definitely continue with it and give it enough of a sample size to see if it improves our decision making on the field or improves our performance.”
Positive COVID test forces ODI postponement
Less than 48 hours later, a positive COVID-19 test in the South African camp saw the first ODI in Cape Town postponed, with the match now to be played in nearby Paarl on Sunday. The South African player was not named, and Cricket South Africa (CSA) issued a statement on Friday hardly an hour before the series opener, confirming a player had tested positive during scheduled testing a day earlier.
The player is the third South African cricketer to test positive during the England series. One tested positive before England and South Africa went into the bio-secure bubble at the same Cape Town hotel and second tested positive in the bubble before the T20Is.
Both CSA and the England and Wales Cricket Board said the decision to postpone the Cape Town ODI was taken “in the interests of the safety and well-being of both teams, match officials and all involved in the match.”