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More research is needed into the effects on injury of substitute and interchange rules in team sports
  1. John Orchard
  1. Correspondence to John Orchard, Sports Medicine at Sydney University, University of Sydney, Cnr Western Ave and Physics Road, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia; johnorchard{at}

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There is a viewpoint that changes to the rules and scheduling of modern cricket need the blessing of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), such is the financial dominance that India has in this sport. Twenty-20 cricket did not become a prominent form of the game until India won the 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa; suddenly, it was the potential saviour of the sport just as the Indian Premier League was born. Although an injury prevention argument has been made for the introduction of substitutes in Test cricket,1 the traditionalist view is that cricket should remain a unique sport where substitutes are not permitted for the specialist positions in the game (batting, bowling and wicketkeeping). If this traditionalist view is ever reversed, historians may look back on a hamstring injury to Zaheer Khan, India's fast bowler, on the opening day of the 2011 first Test against England as one of the major catalysts. The much anticipated series between England and India turned out to be a major disappointment for those who love a close contest. The issue of whether cricket will finally join every other team sport on the planet in allowing substitutes or interchanges (for injury or performance reasons) now finally has some traction.2 Not only did Zaheer's injury handicap the Indians in the first Test, the fact that the remainder of India's first-choice bowling attack needed to be ‘overbowled’ in this Test to make up for their missing strike bowler possibly affected their performance for the remainder of the summer. We already …

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  • Competing interests The author provides injury surveillance services to both Cricket Australia and the Australian Football League. The views expressed in this article are personal and do not necessarily reflect the positions of these organisations.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.