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Substitutes set to play vital role in first-class cricket

Sports

July 2, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The first-class cricket will be different from what it was before the Covid-19 pandemic as the role of substitute players is likely to become critical in coming days.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is reported to be considering allowing substitute players in first-class matches in case a player contracts the virus.

County cricket in England — set to begin from August 1 — is also considering use of substitutes. However, the exact role of the substitute is yet to be determined. Will he be allowed to bat and/or bowl? Different proposals are under consideration.

Currently the first-class teams are allowed to include substitutes in case players get called for national duty.

Permitting the teams to field more than 11 players would go against the principles of 125 years of first-class cricket.

When this correspondent approached Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Director High Performance Nadeem Khan, he admitted that changes were required to cope up with changing situation.

“During this unprecedented situation, adjustments will have to be made. All the concerned are currently busy taking most realistic approach towards the game. All the adjustments will be finalised according to the directives of the ICC. It is believed that the ICC has already finalised the rules for international as well as first-class cricket,” he said.

Nadeem rejected the impression that the game was going to lose its first-class status if substitutes were allowed. “Though nothing has been finalised, I think allowing substitutes will not do any harm to first-class status of the game. These are unprecedented times so we have to adjust accordingly,” he said.