Steve Elworthy, England and Wales Cricket Board‘s director of events, said that the ICC are considering the use of substitute players in case a Cricketer tests positive for COVID-19 in the middle of a Cricket match.
Marnus Labuschagne became the first player in the history of Cricket to play as a like for like substitute for Steve Smith, who suffered from a concussion after a blow to the head by a Jofra Archer delivery in the Ashes last year. Although, substitution of players is not an unfamiliar phenomenon in Cricket, as we have had substitute fielders for a long time. Other than that, the ICC introduced the ‘SuperSub’ rule in 2005, which allowed the 12th man to take active part in a One Day International Cricket match. Due to its poor implementation and heavy criticism, the ICC scrapped the rule soon after.
Elworthy told Sky Sports, “COVID replacements are certainly something that the ICC are discussing. I’ve seen communication about that and it’s certainly something we hope would be allowed, specifically for Test matches, not necessarily ODIs or T20s. That replacement would have to be a ‘like for like’ player. Our on-site COVID medical practitioner and Public Health England would be informed immediately and that player would then be put into isolation for a period of time.”
“With the testing protocols of getting those players into that (bio-secure) bubble first, you would hope that wouldn’t be a scenario we’d have to deal with,” Elworthy added.
England are set to host the West Indies in a three Test match series starting next month, with the visitors flying in a 14-man squad plus 11 reserves who will train and quarantine together before the first test, scheduled to start in the 8th of July in Southampton.