Steve Smith ruled out of Headingley Ashes Test: Details here
Australian batsman Steve Smith has been ruled out of the upcoming Headingley Test of the ongoing Ashes 2019, due to concussion. Smith, who had suffered a blow to the head during the Lord's Test last week, did not have ample time to recover for the upcoming match. Meanwhile, Marnus Labuschagne, who was Smith's concussion sub at Lord's, would likely take his place. Here's more.
The just-concluded Lord's Test saw Smith being struck at the back of his neck by a bouncer from Jofra Archer. This resulted in Smith collapsing on the ground momentarily and leaving, before returning to complete his innings. Following his dismissal on 92, he was ruled out of the remainder of the match, citing concussion. Notably, his helmet did not have the neck guard.
While it was expected that Smith would be fit for the Headingley Test, as he traveled with the team to Leeds, he did not undergo a proper training session with them. Smith did do mild training during the squad's start-up huddle, but soon had a one-on-one chat with Justin Langer and Richard Saw, as he became a spectator thereon.
"You need to take an 'if in doubt' approach. With concussion, the vision can be blurred and the brain can be slow at processing information. That leads to delayed reaction times and is just incredibly dangerous," said Luke Griggs, brain injury charity Headway's chief executive.
Following Smith's concussion, questions were raised as to why Smith did not wear the neck guard. Smith cleared the air by saying that wearing it made him feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable. However, the ICC and Cricket Australia (CA) are looking to mandate the use of neck guards in the coming days, as newly upgraded guards would soon be up for trial.
Australia have suffered a big setback with Smith being ruled out, as he has been their pillar of the batting order so far. However, despite his absence, Australia have a number of batsmen in their arsenal, who can still make a strong impact. Meanwhile, England would look to strike back and win the third Test to level the series at 1-1.
It is indeed risky to play Smith with him showing symptoms of concussion, as another blow could prove to be hazardous for Smith's career. The author thinks Australia's decision to rest Smith for the Headingley Test is the right one. He should only be fielded when the concussion has completely subsided.