How Phillip Hughes' death has made cricket safer

The late Phil Hughes. Photo / Ross Setford
The late Phil Hughes. Photo / Ross Setford

A one-day cup elimination final has provided the latest reminder of how Phillip Hughes' death has changed cricket, with NSW activating a historic concussion substitute following a blow to Daniel Hughes' helmet.

NSW will meet Queensland in Sunday's decider at North Sydney Oval, having recorded a rain-affected win over Victoria at Drummoyne Oval on Friday.

Nic Maddinson delivered a mature knock of 86 as the defending champions were awarded victory via the Duckworth-Lewis method, having reached 5-238 in 46 overs in response to Victoria's 242.

Maddinson, himself struck on the helmet by a bouncer from Scott Boland in the 35th over, entered the fray when Daniel Hughes retired hurt on 23.

Maddinson was able to bat on and proved he was right by launching consecutive sixes. Hughes wasn't so lucky.

The opener hit the deck after attempting to pull a bouncer from veteran paceman Peter Siddle.

He was quickly back on his feet, albeit with a cut below his eye, but left the field and failed a concussion test.

The incident rattled both batsman and bowler. Siddle was clearly distressed and one of many concerned Victoria players to rush in and check on Hughes' welfare.

"He was definitely rattled. For that over and probably the one after, he was struggling for 10 or 15 minutes," Victoria skipper Matthew Wade said.

"You start to just get back into the game slowly but surely. It's not a nice situation after what everyone's been through."

Maddinson agreed.

"Everyone was a little bit shaken up at first and took a couple of balls to get back into it, which is generally going to happen when someone gets hit in the head," he said.

Daniel Hughes was ushered into the change rooms by John Orchard, the same doctor who treated Phillip Hughes when he suffered a fatal blow during a Sheffield Shield game in 2014.

Orchard, who repeatedly called for the sport to adopt concussion substitutes in recent years, ruled Daniel Hughes was unfit to resume his innings.

It means the left-hander, who has scored 386 runs in the one-day competition to sit second on the list of run-scorers, will also almost certainly miss Sunday's final.

Nick Larkin replaced Hughes in NSW's batting order under Cricket Australia's updated concussion policy, which permits a like-for-like substitute and will also be used in the Big Bash League.

Play was abandoned as Larkin walked out to the middle.The new rule will not be adopted in Sheffield Shield games as the International Cricket Council was unwilling to approve its use in first-class matches.

The concussion law was introduced for domestic one-day and Twenty20 contests for the 2016-17 season, as per a recommendation from the independent review into the death of Phillip Hughes.

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