12th Man or Sub?



While it was great to see the Australians fight back to take control of the First Test at Edgebaston I was left wondering what might have been had the Rules of Cricket allowed for England to bring in a substitute for the injured James Anderson. Effectively England was a bowler down and not just any bowler. Anderson is a proven wicket-taker in Ashes Tests in England and his absence at such a crucial point of the game surely had a detrimental effect on England’s ability to dismiss batsmen and ultimately the outcomes of the match.

In pretty much all sports the rules allow for teams to replace an injured player with a substitute. So why not allow it cricket?

Test cricket, Internationally, needs a lift. Crowds are down, interest is waning and T-20 and One Day Cricket have taken over in terms of popularity. Test cricket does not have the appeal to the younger players and supporters that it once had and Ashes aside; if Test Cricket does not change it runs the risk of perishing as the years roll on.

What is wrong with allowing for substitution? A team goes into a test match with eleven players and if during the course of a match a player or two is injured why not just bring on a sub. It maintains a relatively even playing field and gives opportunities to players who might otherwise have missed out. It would make for a more even contest and ensure that the paying public gets their money worth.

The same could apply for all forms of the game and for all levels of the game. T20, One Day, State Level, County Level, Provincial Level, Premier League, and Grade Cricket. The naysayers will argue that not having subs is part of the game. If a bowler or batsman or a keeper are injured, so bo it. It has worked that way for 100 odd years so why change it?

We would be interested in your views.