Virat Kohli-led Team India, shrugging off memories of their ODI series drubbing, started the T20I affair on a positive note by defeating Australia in the first game of the series on Friday at the Manuka Oval.
The Men in Blue were able to post 161 runs on the scoreboard after Ravindra Jadeja accelerated and stitched a quick-fire 23-ball 44 in the first T20I in Canberra. The left-hander stepped up after India lost wickets in quick succession in the middle overs. Continuing his form with the bat and shifting in the momentum in his side's favour, Jadeja hit 5 fours and a six to propel the visitors to a daunting total against the Aussies.
In response, Australia were able to gather just 150 runs against the Indian bowling unit. Yuzvendra Chahal, the concussion substitute of Jadeja, rose to the occasion and took a three-fer to make things easier for the touring party. 29-year-old Natarajan also dazzled on his debut and registered three wickets to his name.
Amid the hard-fought victory, Chahal stepping in the middle as Jadeja's concussion substitute was arguably the talking point of the game. Jadeja endured a blow on his helmet in the final over of the first innings, leading to Chahal's inclusion in the squad for the second innings.
"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," the BCCI said in a statement.
The move garnered mixed reactions as Australia head coach Justin Langer was fuming ahead of the second innings. Langer was caught arguing with match referee and his former teammate David Boon. Though Jadeja was hit on the helmet, he wasn't assessed by the physio during the blow nor his helmet was changed. Chahal was approved as a like-for-like replacement and the move worked in India's favour.
Australia, on the other hand, were hit by the unexpected. While many former players like Sanjay Manjrekar and Ajit Agarkar backed India's move, Michael Vaughan and Tom Moody felt otherwise. They had an issue with a doctor or physio not being present with Jadeja when he was struck on the helmet.
"No Doctor or Physio came out to Test Jadeja for concussion ... he then looks like his has done something to his leg ... then they pull the concussion replacement .. !!!!! #RatSniffed #OnOn #AUSvIND," tweeted Vaughan, irked by India's tactics.
Moody also joined the bandwagon and wrote, "I have no issue with Jadeja being substitute with Chahal. But I do have an issue with a Doctor & Physio not being present after Jadeja was struck on the helmet which I believe is the protocol now?"
I have no issue with Jadeja being substitute with Chahal. But I do have an issue with a Doctor & Physio not being present after Jadeja was struck on the helmet which I believe is protocol now? #AusvInd— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) December 4, 2020