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Should Proteas have been allowed to replace JP Duminy?

Glenn Mitchell Columnist

By Glenn Mitchell, Glenn Mitchell is a Roar Expert

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62 Have your say

    South African Test cricketer JP Duminy. AFP PHOTO / FILES / Greg WOOD

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    In the end, the first Test at the Gabba petered out to a draw, albeit with the odd moment of tension.

    But both times Australia was in the field it was aided greatly by the fact that it needed only nine wickets to terminate the South African innings.

    Had the match gone down to the wire on the final day it would have been a sense of great ire for the Proteas that they were depleted personnel wise.

    But, all they could have done was shake their heads in frustration because the match officials had no leniency to change their plight.

    Law 2.3 states that “a substitute shall not be allowed to bat, bowl or act as wicket-keeper”.

    It is a law that has been codified forever and a day.

    But does that mean it should remain in that form?

    The injury to JP Duminy occurred after the cessation of a day’s play when he tore his Achilles tendon during the warm down.

    And therein lays the possibility for a farce developing at some point.

    Should injuries that occur away from the field of play, or serious illnesses, be looked upon in a different light to injuries that are incurred on the ground?

    For many a year cricket fans have questioned why it is that substitutes are not allowed to fulfil the roles assigned to a member of the selected XI.

    In most other team sports substitutes are allowed to assume the full duties of injured or ill players.

    Cricket has long chosen not to go down that path.

    There may well be an argument for maintaining the law as it stands with respect to injuries that are incurred on the field of play.

    But are we not courting a potential farce if there is not a common sense rule applied to injuries that occur outside the normal realm of the game?

    What would happen to the validity of a Test match should three or four players be injured in a car accident going to or from the ground or when they were heading out to dinner after a day’s play?

    While their injuries may not be severe, should they be of an extent that rules them out of the remainder of the match, do we really wish to see a 7 v 11 contest.

    And what if the players concerned were all of the same ilk?

    The Australian team during its recent pomp had its own little subset – the ‘Fast Bowling Cartel’ or ‘FBC’ as its members referred to it.

    It was not uncommon to see the likes of Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie head out to dinner as a group when they were all in the same side.

    If the same band of brothers still exists in the current team, and Peter Siddle, James Pattinson and Ben Hilfenhaus all ventured out together only to end up bruised and battered as a result of an accident, the cricketing aftermath would be hard to swallow.

    A ‘pace’ bowling attack comprising Rob Quiney, Mike Hussey and Ricky Ponting backed up by Nathan Lyon and Michael Clarke would not exactly get the competitive juices flowing.

    I may be wrong, but I reckon the said match would become a farce.

    Nowadays, elite level sportsmen are often the targets of intoxicated members of the public after hours.

    Wouldn’t it be great to have a player who has been assaulted allowed to be replaced by a fully active substitute?

    JP Duminy will not play again for at least four months due to the unfortunate occurrence after the first day’s play at the Gabba.

    It wasn’t as if he was play acting.

    I propose that the match referee be given the power to adjudicate on the role allowed for a substitute where his inclusion in the match results from an off-field injury to a teammate.

    Should the match referee deem that there is a genuine case for the injured player to be replaced by a substitute who can take a full role in the remainder of the match it should be a case of replacing like with like.

    Duminy, for instance would have needed to have been replaced by a player whose primary role in the squad was a batsman who may or may not be able to bowl a little, as is the case with Duminy.

    Replacing him with the likes of specialist leg-spinner Imran Tahir would be a no-no.

    I think fans want to see a fair fight – XI v XI.

    Therefore, I reckon it’s time for the MCC to revisit the substitute law with regard to players who are dealt a poor hand off the field during a Test match.

    Glenn Mitchell
    Glenn Mitchell

    After 21 years as a sports broadcaster with the ABC, since mid-2011 Glenn Mitchell has been freelancing in the electronic and written media. He is an ambassador for mental health in Australia, and tweets from @mitchellglenn.

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    The Crowd Says (62)

    • November 15th 2012 @ 3:24am
      AndyMack said | November 15th 2012 @ 3:24am | ! Report

      Hi Glenn

      Your idea has some merit, although I can see a few issues.

      Surely SA would have been able to argue that Duminy was picked in the side as the spinner for this test, so therefore Tahir should be an allowed replacement. You have said it is a no-no, so already we have a grey area.

      Also not sure how you would go about replacing 3 quickies if they were all injured going to dinner after play. Most touring teams wouldnt have that many back up quicks in the squad, so think we would still have a similar issue anyway.

      Just a few thoughts, but overall I would be happy with a “common sense” approach as you suggest.

    • November 15th 2012 @ 3:40am
      Johnno said | November 15th 2012 @ 3:40am | ! Report

      No way. If you do that you then see the start of interchanges, and players faking injuries if in the middle of the match the pitch is suddenly spinning, then a pace bowler can come in. Then if you say only a spinner can come in to replace him. You open up another pandora’s box . How does once truly define a spin bowler. Is it by pace or type of spin they do, leg or off, and some bowlers are just simply slow bowlers not even spinners. Alan Border was more a slow bowler as was Viv.
      You also then open up another pandora’s box, what if the team is belting an offspinner all over the pitch, then the team wants to bring in a leg spinner.

      They tell the player to fake an injury then bring in a leg spinner. And that;s the thing how can you tell a player is faking an injury where would the independent doctor be. There would be no such thing. What would happen if the test was being played in Pakistan and maybe rumors would happen the ICC doctor appointed is corrupt, and so forth. Teams would abuse and exploit the replacement rule badly. And same with fast bowlers, say your at the WACA and a strong fremantle doctor has come in on the morning.

      And what do you know suddenly a fast bowler a reliable and endurance pete sidle type bowler has broken down unexpecitdly, and a swing bowler has suddenly been summoned a Ben Hilfanhous, damien Fleming, and Jimmy Anderson type bowler. And bobs up and suddenly takes 5 wickets on a windy Fremantle doctor at the WACA. Wow what a coincidence that suddenly an injury when a strong fremantle doctor comes up at the waca, and the replacement sub swing bowler takes 5 wickets.

      We never saw that coming lol.

      The old batsman runner option rule was badly abused exploited by all teams in world cricket i am glad they got rid off that rule. I bet you Arjuna Ranatunga misses that rule lol.

      What i do believe in is a fielding subsitution rule,. Like 5 per innings per team, thats it so not as much flip flopping on and off like in the ashes 2005 series by England just 5 set and done non negotiable.

      SO pace bowlers can rest up and comeback fresh, without having to field for the overs they were off. Player welfare issues so maybe guys like young Pat Cummins would not break down as much, as fast bowlers have to rack up some serious miles int he field and do some serious throwing.
      Evens contest between bat and ball. Or bring in an option of teams being able to take the new ball after 70 overs say or 65 overs.

    • November 15th 2012 @ 4:37am
      Mark Roth said | November 15th 2012 @ 4:37am | ! Report

      I can see it working, but only with two strict elements:

      1) The players’ injuries are certified by a doctor appointed by the match referee or umpires. If possible, have a neutral doctor sent out by the ICC

      2) The replacement players must be from a specified list. For simplicities sake, the player designated as 12th Man must come in first, but I could just as easily live with a system where a team names bowler(s) and batsman/batsmen to a list. They cannot pick and choose in the second case, but at least a bat is replaced by a bat and a bowler replaces a bowler.

    • Roar Rookie

      November 15th 2012 @ 6:28am
      Neuen said | November 15th 2012 @ 6:28am | ! Report

      What happens if your wicketkeeper gets injured on the first day? Must someone else stand as keeper while the 12th man who is maybe your 2nd choice wicketkeeper do fielding?

      • November 15th 2012 @ 8:11am
        Chris said | November 15th 2012 @ 8:11am | ! Report

        Why would any team name a wicketkeeper as 12th man? I’ve never heard of it happening.

        • Roar Rookie

          November 15th 2012 @ 10:07am
          Neuen said | November 15th 2012 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          Well the Lions have done it on numerous occasions with Quinton De Kock as twelve man as Tsolikeli was the first choice choice and the 19yr the backup. Wicketkeepers make fine fielders as well. AB de Villiers started out as a keeper but he is a very good fielder.

      • November 15th 2012 @ 9:26am
        jameswm said | November 15th 2012 @ 9:26am | ! Report

        Right now, someone else takes the keeping gloves and your 12th man fields.

    • November 15th 2012 @ 8:10am
      Chris said | November 15th 2012 @ 8:10am | ! Report

      Allow the opposing captain to name the substitute player (from the named squad of course). That way there would never be an accusation of a player faking an injury.

      Of course, the opposing captain could make like difficult for a team by naming an unsuitable player as replacement, but it would be a lot better than having no replacement at all.

    • November 15th 2012 @ 8:16am
      Lucan said | November 15th 2012 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      Don’t like the substitute idea.

      While the thoughts behind it are well intentioned, all evidence we see from other sports are that the “injury replacement” quickly evolves into a tactical option. Aussie Rules being the clearest example of the bench/substitute no longer resembling what it was introduced for.

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