Michael Atherton bats for introduction of injury substitutes amid COVID-19 pandemic 

In case of serious injuries, players will have to visit hospitals by leaving the bio-secure bubble.

Michael Atherton | Reuters  Michael Atherton, the former England captain-turned-commentator, believes the International Cricket Council (ICC) should look to introduce injury substitutes for those players requiring to leave the bio-secure bubble and visit hospitals during cricket matches amid COVID-19 pandemic. 

With England due to host West Indies in July in bio-secure arrangements for three Test matches at Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford, Atherton's point makes a lot of sense.

Read Also - 'Harder for players now than when I played due to social media': Michael Atherton 

"What, for example, happens if a batsman breaks a finger and he's got to go to the hospital for an X-ray? He's got to leave the bubble and then come back, and if there's a delay on testing or the results. I think you'll see one or two compromises," Atherton told former South African pacer Shaun Pollock and host Neil Manthorp in the 'Following On Cricket Podcast'.

The ICC currently allows player substitution for concussion only, with Marnus Labuschagne last year becoming the first concussion substitute in the history of Test cricket after Steve Smith went down with a blow to his head off a bouncer from Jofra Archer during the Lord's Ashes Test. 

"If you remember, Marnus Labuschagne became the first concussion substitute for Steve Smith last year, and what will probably happen, as just a short-term measure, is if there's an injury that'll require someone to go to hospital, they'll probably allow a substitute for that, whether it's a broken finger or a torn hamstring or whatever," Atherton added. 

England and Wales Cricket Board's (ECB) director of events, Steve Elworthy, recently confirmed that the ICC might also consider allowing COVID-19 substitutes for the West Indies Test series. 

The three-Test series is due to mark the return of international cricket from July 8 in Southampton. 

(Inputs from PTI)


By Kashish Chadha - 07 Jun, 2020

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