Former England skipper Michael Atherton believes the ICC should consider allowing more substitutions for injuries which require players to visit a hospital for treatment during a match amid the COVID-19 pandemic. International cricket is set to resume after the coronavirus hiatus with England scheduled to host the West Indies team in a bio-secure environment for a proposed three-match series in July. It is likely to be the first tournament since the health crisis forced a shutdown of the sport worldwide in March.
Artherton, who has led England in 54 Tests, said there "will be one or two issues" when international cricket resume after the break. "What, for example, happens if a batsman breaks a finger and he's got to go to hospital for an X-ray? He's got to leave the bubble and then come back, and if there's a delay on testing or the results. I think you'll see one or two compromises," Atherton told Shaun Pollock and host Neil Manthorp in the 'Following On Cricket Podcast'.
The 52-year-old former batsman, who has scored 7728 runs in 115 Tests for England, said if such a situation arises then "you'll see is that there'll be an extension for the concussion rule". "If you remember, Marnus Labuschagne became the first concussion substitute for Steve Smith last year, and what will probably happen, as just a short-term measure, is if there's an injury that'll require someone to go to hospital, they'll probably allow a substitute for that, whether it's a broken finger or a torn hamstring or whatever."
The opening Test between England and West Indies is set to be played at the Ageas Bowl, with the series moving to Old Trafford, Manchester for the second and third Tests. Given the unprecedented circumstances, the ICC is also considering allowing COVID-19 substitutes during England's Test series against West Indies, according to Steve Elworthy, the ECB's director of special projects.