The Marylebone Cricket Club has confirmed the new rule wherein the wicketkeeper can hand the gloves over to the fielding replacement with the Umpires' approval. The traditional guardians of Laws of Cricket have confirmed that the new rule will permit substitute players to don gloves behind the stumps in case the regular wicketkeeper is injured during the course of the game. The new rules will come into effect from October.
The Umpires will have to approve the substitution to ensure that the new concession is not taken advantage of by the fielding team. The old rule where the substitute fielder wasn't allowed to bat, bowl or act as captain will prevail as before.
“It was felt that, if the original wicketkeeper was genuinely injured, then a substitute should be allowed to take over, but that the umpires should control the situation to prevent abuse,” the MCC explained in a summary of their amendments to Code.
The new laws can be implemented in both international games as well as the domestic games under Cricket Australia. Both organisations, however, have the rights to introduce their own playing conditions for matches under their jurisdictions.
This decision comes after Victoria were denied a replacement when their wicketkeeper Sam Harper suffered serious concussions after South Australian batsman Jake Lehmann struck him on the head in his follow through during a Sheffield Shield match in February.
Victoria wanted to use a substitute but CA's head of operations Sean Cary said that such an incident would cost the match it's first class status. Cary had said that a cricket match is FC only when it is 11 a side.
"I can't see how we could allow the points to stand because the match has lost its first-class status and the Sheffield Shield is the first-class competition. That's my own personal view and that would need to be discussed amongst (Cricket Australia’s) Playing Conditions Committee," said Cary after the match.
The committee is set to discuss MCC's new Code of Laws in the coming days. Despite their approach, MCC is yet to make amendments regarding concussion subs in the Code.
CA permitted concussion subs in all domestic one-day and Twenty20 games last summer after the untimely demise of former Australian batsman Phil Hughes.
CA wanted to introduce the same in Sheffield Shield matches but chose not to as it would harm the First Class status of the match since ICC decided against implementing concussions subs in international cricket.
"We still would like to see a concussion sub introduced in first-class cricket," Cary said in February. "If no other country wants to do it then we're prepared to trial it and report back to (the ICC), as long as the competition retains its first-class status."