Australia captain Aaron Finch played down the matter of India bringing in leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal as concussion substitute for Ravindra Jadeja in the first T20I after the decision appeared to have irked Australia head coach Justin Langer who was seen discussing the issue with match referee David Boon at the Manuka Oval on Friday.
Chahal took three for 25 to become the first concussion substitute to win man of the match award.
"Their doctor had ruled Jadeja out due to concussion. You can't be challenging a medical expert's opinion," said Finch putting to rest the controversy.
India skipper Virat Kohli said, "There were no plans of having Yuzi (Yuzvendra Chahal) in the game. Concussion replacements are a strange thing. Today, it worked for us. Yuzi showed character to squeeze the opponents."
Jadeja was seen limping immediately after being hit on the head by a Mitchell Starc delivery in the 20th over of the Indian innings. The all-rounder had also taken a break after the third ball of the 19th over and his injury, which looked like a hamstring, had to be tended to.
Jadeja made an unbeaten 23-ball 44 with the help of five fours and a six. The injury, however, did not impact his big-hitting as he hit 24 off the next seven balls he faced to take India to 161/7. But the way he walked off the field after the innings did not make for a pleasant sight.
The doctor observed him during the innings break and suggested he could take no further part.
The ICC rules call for a like-for-like replacement in case of a concussion substitute.
Rule 18.104.22.168 in ICC playing conditions states, "In assessing whether the nominated Concussion Replacement should be considered a like-for-like player, the ICC Match Referee should consider the likely role the concussed player would have played during the remainder of the match, and the normal role that would be performed by the nominated Concussion Replacement."
Keeping that in mind, a spin-bowling all-rounder or a left-arm spinner should have taken his place. But since India did have any other spinner besides Chahal on the bench, they had to bring in the leg-spinner.
Rule 22.214.171.124 states, "If the ICC Match Referee believes that the inclusion of the nominated Concussion Replacement, when performing their normal role, would excessively advantage their team, the Match Referee may impose such conditions upon the identity and involvement of the Concussion Replacement as he/she sees fit, in line with the overriding objective of facilitating a like-for-like replacement for the concussed player."
The onus to calculate whether the substitute is like-for-like or gives an undue advantage to the team replacing a player has to be determined by the match-referee. India's decision to bring in Chahal paid off as the Aussie leg-spinners Adam Zampa and Mitchell Swepson had a field day, picking two wickets and conceding just 41 runs in six overs they bowled.
Chahal responded well, taking two wickets (Finch and Steve Smith) in his first two overs and giving away just 10 runs. Then he came back to take one more (of Wade).
"Ravindra Jadeja was hit on the helmet in the final over of the first innings of the first T20I. Yuzvendra Chahal will take the field in the 2nd innings as a concussion substitute. Jadeja is currently being assessed by the BCCI medical team," BCCI confirmed in a tweet.
The left-arm spinner's 44 on Sunday is now the highest score for an Indian batsman at No. 7 or below in T20Is.