Eng vs WI: ICC discussing COVID-19 substitutes, says ECB official

England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) director of special projects Steve Elworthy has revealed that the International Cricket Council (ICC) is discussing the possibility of introducing substitutes if a player tests positive for COVID-19 during a Test match.

Currently, a like-for-like replacement can be made in a cricket match only when a player suffers from a concussion. For all other injuries and illnesses, a substitute fielder may be permitted, but that player cannot bat or bowl.

“COVID replacements are certainly something that the ICC are discussing,” Elworthy told Sky Sports. “I’ve seen communication about that and it’s certainly something we hope would be allowed – specifically for Test matches, not necessarily ODIs or T20s.

“That replacement would have to be a ‘like for like’ player… Our on-site COVID medical practitioner and Public Health England would be informed immediately and that player would then be put into isolation for a period of time,” he added.

If ICC approves, COVID-19 substitutes can be seen in the upcoming three-Test series between England and West Indies slated to begin behind closed doors next month, subject to UK government clearance. The first Test is scheduled to be played at the Ageas Bowl from July 8, followed by the remaining two matches at Old Trafford on July 16 and July 24.

The ICC Cricket Committee has already recommended banning the use of saliva to shine the ball in order to stop the transmission of novel coronavirus among players.