What is the Concussion Substitute Rule in Cricket and How Does it Work?

Injuries are part and parcel of every sport, including cricket. Players getting injured while playing the game is not new, but it can derail a team’s strategy.

To overcome this, the International Cricket Council (ICC) came up with the concussion substitute rule.

Now, what is this rule? How does it work? And how does it help teams?

In this article, I will explain everything related to the concussion substitute rule in cricket.

The Need for Concussion Substitute

Cricket has been played for a long time, but there was no provision to replace an injured player with a fit player who could actively take part in the game.

Although there was provision for a substitute fielder, as the name suggests, it was limited to fielding only. The concerned substitute player couldn’t bat or bowl in the match apart from fielding.

For instance, if a bowler got injured while bowling or fielding, they were replaced by a substitute fielder; however, they were not allowed to bowl. 

Now this sounds a bit unfair, doesn’t it?

So to make the game more balanced, the ICC came up with the concussion substitute rule in 2019. Now, under this rule, a concussed player can be replaced by a like-for-like substitute player and take part in the game more actively.

But how does the rule exactly work? Let’s understand the playing conditions set by the ICC.

ICC Playing Condition for Concussion Substitute

The ICC rule states that a player who sustains a head or neck injury while playing on the field can be replaced by a concussion substitute.

To avail of this rule, the team physio or doctor needs to assess the concerned player, and then the team manager needs to submit a concussion replacement request to the match referee. While sending the request, the team manager needs to mention a few things on a standard form.

They include:

  • Name of the player who sustained the concussion
  • Details about the concussion incident
  • Confirmation of the team’s physio or medical representative about the player’s concussion
  • Name of the substitute player

After checking all the details submitted by the team manager, the match referee will approve the concussion replacement request, given that the replacement is a like-for-like player.

What is a Like-for-Like Replacement?

So in simple terms, a batter with a concussion needs to be replaced by a batter. Similarly, a bowler can only be replaced by a bowler.

But in some scenarios, an all-rounder can replace both batter and bowler or vice versa, albeit with some limitations.

Now let me explain this with an example.

Suppose a bowling all-rounder got a concussion on his head while batting in the first innings and went off the field. After assessing the concussion, the team can replace him with a bowler with similar skill sets since the concussed player would have bowled in the second innings. 

In such cases, the match referee will check the likely role of the concussed player for the rest of the match and the role that would be accomplished by the substitute player.

If both roles match, then the match referee can allow the substitute player to take the field. 


The concussion substitute rule provides teams with some relief in case their main player gets concussed on the field. If such a rule wasn’t in place, then teams would have risked their concussed players by playing them even after the concussion. 

So the concussion rule is for the betterment of all the players involved in the game. And it’s good to see that cricket is evolving with time by adopting new rules and regulations.

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