Test keeper endorses concussion subs | cricketnetwork.com

Test keeper endorses concussion subs

16 February 2017

Wade another to give thumbs up to an altered replacement rule following Sam Harper incident

Australia's Test wicketkeeper Matthew Wade has added his voice for a change in playing conditions relating to the use of concussion substitutes after his fellow Victoria gloveman Sam Harper was felled during a recent Sheffield Shield match.

Harper, who was keeping wickets for the Bushrangers in the absence of Test squad members Wade and Peter Handscomb, spent several days in hospital in Adelaide after being struck on the head by a bat.

Harper struck by bat in Sheffield Shield

Victoria's request for a substitute player to take Harper's place for the remainder of that match was denied by their opponents, South Australia, in keeping with the convention that both rival captains must agree for such an action to proceed.

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And Cricket Australia's Head of Cricket Operations Sean Cary claimed this week that the Bushrangers might have been stripped of the points they pocketed from their win in Adelaide had they employed a substitute as, under the current international laws of the game, the use of a concussion substitute is not allowed in matches carrying first-class status.

But Wade, who admitted to never having been struck by a bat in the same manner as Harper despite spending his entire senior career as a specialist keeper, is the latest to declare that ruling needs to change.

Nevill struck in face by bat

"I definitely think it's something we should look at for first-class level, for sure," Wade said in Mumbai today where Australia are preparing for the start of the four-Test Qantas Tour of India that begins in Pune next week.

"Obviously to play with 10 people is hard work, we (Victoria) got the result in Adelaide which was nice but it's something I think that will seriously be looked at.

"The players are starting to come around more and more with this issue, that we've got to look after the players first and you don't want people to be playing with 10 men because someone got hit with a cricket bat.

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"I can't speak for all the players, but it's something I'm sure the ACA (Australian Cricketers' Association) will sit down and speak to the players about.

"It's something we've definitely got to look at, at first-class level."

Harper, 20, was ruled out of the Sheffield Shield match after being struck on the follow through of an aggressive pull shot from South Australia's Jake Lehmann, as the Victoria keeper moved to the leg side in anticipation.

It was the second unusual wicketkeeping mishap at Adelaide Oval in the space of a few weeks, after former Test gloveman Peter Nevill was struck on the side of the face by a bat that slipped from the grip of Brad Hodge during a KFC Big Bash League match between the Melbourne Renegades and the Adelaide Strikers.

However Wade, who has watched video of both incidents and admitted they are likely to spark calls for wicketkeepers to don more extensive protective headwear at all times, believes that both were "freak" occurrences.

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And added that the fact he has never been struck by a bat during his many years as a keeper suggests a blanket rule to try and eliminate that risk would be tough to formulate and implement.

"I'm sure there will be people looking to put guards on helmets and all kinds of things now, so we'll just what plays out there," Wade said today.

"It's a tough one - what do you do?

"You can't really draw a line and make the keeper stand a metre from the bat, everyone will just keep running down the wickets.

"So it just is what it is.

"I know that it's a bit of a freak accident, to get through the grille (of the protective helmet) and hit someone in the face is unbelievable."

About the Writer

 @ARamseyCricket
@ARamseyCricket

Andrew Ramsey is the senior writer for cricket.com.au. He previously wrote for the Guardian, The Australian, The Times, The Telegraph, The Hindu and Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack and the author of The Wrong Line.