If Steve Smith Were English, He Wouldn't Be Allowed To Play The Next Test

The third Ashes Test at Headingley starts in just two days.

And heading to Headingley, all the headlines are about Steve Smith's head. But will Australia's star batsman play after suffering concussion after he was felled by a Jofra Archer bouncer at Lord's?

Insiders say he'll miss the Test, and that Marnus Labuschagne -- who batted so well in his place in the second innings at Lord's as world cricket's first-ever concussion sub -- will take his place at number four in the batting order.

But he may yet play, because cricket Australia's protocols on this issues are different from England's.

Steve Smith was felled by a Jofra Archer missile. Image: Getty.

Cricket's governing body in England and Wales -- the ECB -- specifically mandates that a player cannot take the field in any match within six days of concussion symptoms being recorded.

The six-day minimum also applies in the NRL and AFL.

Cricket Australia's concussion policy is different. It says a player must not play or train for at least 24 hours after the diagnosis of concussion. After that, clearance must be provided by the doctor.

Some say that CA has not set a six-day rule because it fears players will fail to self-report concussion symptoms when there are fewer than six days between Tests. 10 daily has sought comment from CA on this theory.

Photo: Getty Images.

But the bottom line is that Smith could play at Headingley under current protocols.

So will he be cleared?

Remember that Smith was given the green light to take the field just 55 balls after being struck in Australia's first innings at Lord's, after passing the standard concussion tests.

It was only the next day that he awoke with dizziness and other mild concussion symptoms. Doctors call this delayed concussion, and it's not uncommon for concussion symptoms to show up 24 to 48 hours after an incident.

Cricket Australia's medical staff are now said to be monitoring him extra closely, to see if any lingering signs persist. It is a race against time, given there are just three days between Tests, as opposed to the usual week or so.

Meanwhile the man himself remains hopeful.

"It's obviously a quick turnaround between Test matches and I'm going to be assessed over the next five or six days, each day a couple of times a day, to see how I'm feeling and how I'm progressing," he said yesterday.

"I'm hopeful I'll be available, but it's certainly up to the medical staff and we'll have conversations... I want to be 100 percent fit.

Cricket Australia sent Smith for a precautionary scan of his neck on Sunday evening. He was cleared of any structural damage, but whether he's free of concussion remains to be determined.

Meanwhile England has named an unchanged squad, and promises "more of the same" -- in terms of the short-pitched stuff -- from Jofra Archer.