Given Chahal was the only spinner on India’s team sheet outside of the starting XI, it would be difficult for the Australians to successfully argue he was not the most appropriate like-for-like replacement for spin-bowling all-rounder Jadeja.
Jadeja, with 440 international wickets, boasts a vastly superior record to Chahal, but would have been in doubt to take his place in the field as he had already hurt a hamstring before being struck on the helmet. Under the concussion sub rules, however, his replacement was able to bowl.
That Jadeja did not seek medical attention at the time and batted on, clubbing two more boundaries in his match-turning knock of 44 off 23 balls, fuelled suspicions about the concussion finding.
Taylor, a former member of the ICC Cricket Committee, which makes recommendations on the laws of the game, said the onus was on players and teams to use the rules fairly, though he stressed India had not done anything wrong.
“The concussion rules are there to protect players,” Taylor said. “If they are abused there’s a chance it will go like the runner’s rule. The reason the runners were outlawed was because it started to be abused. It’s up to the players to make sure they use the concussion sub fairly and responsibly.
“I’m not suggesting that didn’t happen last night.”
Taylor added: “I’ve said for years I’d like to see players and coaches take more responsibility in running the game. The laws are there to protect them and make the game better for the player. Just make sure they’re used correctly, that’s all I would say.”
India great Sunil Gavaskar was surprised at the level of discussion the replacement had generated.
“You can argue that Chahal’s not an all-rounder, but any bowler who goes out with the bat, whether he scores one run or 100 runs, is an all-rounder, as far as I’m concerned,” Gavaskar told the India Today news channel.
“And he bowls, so it’s a like-for-like replacement, and the Australian match referee had no objection to that. So I don’t see why there is so much of noise about it.”
India captain Virat Kohli said after the game on Friday that Jadeja had been “dizzy”.
The Indian board issued a statement in the early hours of Saturday morning ruling Jadeja out of the final two games of the T20 series due to concussion. The statement made no reference to Jadeja’s hamstring injury.
“The diagnosis was confirmed based on a clinical assessment in the dressing room during the innings break by the BCCI medical team,” the statement said.
“Jadeja remains under observation and will be taken for further scans if required based on the assessment on Saturday morning. He will not take any further part in the ongoing T20I series.”
India, however, do not believe they have breached the International Cricket Council’s concussion protocols in not sending a doctor out to Jadeja.
Guidelines state medical attention is required if called by an umpire; if a player is down and assistance is called; if a player is unable to resume three to four seconds after a head knock; if a player calls for a new helmet; and at the end of the over if the player resumes play.
Only the final reason was applicable in Jadeja’s situation but, as he was hit in the last over of the innings, he could seek attention in the dressing rooms.
There are instances of athletes suffering delayed onset of concussion symptoms, as happened to Steve Smith during last year’s Ashes Test at Lord’s when he was cleared to complete his innings after being felled by Jofra Archer only to fail a concussion test the following morning.
Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald