Angry Australia coach Justin Langer has blown up at match referee and former teammate David Boon after India star Ravi Jadeja was controversially allowed a concussion replacement in the opening T20 international in Canberra.
Langer was incensed before Australia started its unsuccessful pursuit of 7-161 after the ICC officials allowed India’s 12th man Yuzvendra Chahal to replace Jadeja at the bowling crease.
ICC official Boon batted with Langer on his Test debut in 1993 but his explanation didn’t wash with the fiery West Australian.
Leg-spinner Chahal turned in a man of the match performance, taking 3-25 from four overs including the big wicket of Steve Smith.
He punched hands with Langer after the match at Manuka Oval.
Earlier, all-rounder Jadeja rescued India’s innings with 44 not out off 23 balls despite sustaining a hamstring injury during his whirlwind innings.
He battled through but was then struck in the helmet by Mitchell Starc in the final over of India’s innings.
Jadeja kept batting and scored nine more runs from three balls before India’s medical team deemed he was not fit to take the field in the innings break.
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Indian doctor Abhjit Salvi did not check on Jadeja immediately after the blow.
“Should he have had a concussion test then and there?
“You can’t really have it both ways,” former Australia star Mark Waugh opined on Fox Cricket.
“You can’t have a substitute who can then bowl for you, but still bat on.”
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Chahal then spun a web around Australia as India went on to post a comfortable 11 run victory.
“Man of the match off the bench,” Waugh said.
“Has that ever happened before?”
The concussion substitute rule was introduced by the ICC last year.
Marnus Labuschagne came in after Jofra Archer struck Smith in the 2019 Ashes series, the first time the rule had been used.
The ICC playing conditions state: “In assessing whether the nominated concussion replacement should be considered a like-for-like player, the ICC Match Referee should consider the likely role the concussed player would have played during the remainder of the match, and the normal role that would be performed by the nominated concussion replacement.”
Chahal is a specialist bowler while Jadeja is a genuine all-rounder – a distinction Australia’s Moises Henriques stressed post-game.
“One is an all-rounder and a gun fielder and the other one is an out and out bowler who bats No 11,” Henriques said.
“It’s nothing to do with his hammy.
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“I guess I’d like to look into that as a like-for-like decision so to speak because we’ve already seen one half of how Jadeja can be, how well he can bat.
“He’s been a thorn for us with the bat, so once the batting innings is done is probably the only thing.
“There’s no doubt he got hit on the head, he got hit on the helmet and then professionals made a decision from there.”
Australia great Adam Gilchrist also weighed in on the debate on Fox Cricket.
“I would assume the Australian management would be saying wouldn’t there be protocols that need to be met to make that judgement?
“It was nine off three more deliveries, a pretty important nine,” Gilchrist said.
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“In any case it was a bad hamstring injury, bad enough for him to not come out and bowl.
“He got a lot of medical attention and had that right hamstring strapped up by the trainer.”
Gilchrist said there should be an independent doctor.
“You would think that would be the case, for that very reason that if there’s any questions from the opposition.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan, meanwhile, was sceptical about India’s switch on Twitter.
Jadeja’s fitness for the rest of the T20s and Test series is now under a cloud.
“He was a bit dizzy, still is,” India captain Virat Kohli said after the win, which puts the tourists up 1-0 in the best of three series.
“Concussion replacements, they’re a strange thing.
“Today it worked for us, maybe another day we wouldn’t have found a like-for-like.
“(Chahal) came in and bowled really well.”
Australia captain Aaron Finch also struggled with a hip/glute injury during his innings.
“I’ll have a scan tomorrow and see how we go,” Finch said, while declining to pour hot water on the concussion drama.
“(Boon) was letting us know that their doctor had ruled Jadeja out with concussion.
“There is not much you can say to that.
“You’re not challenging a medical expert in that regard, are you?”