Australia are hopeful Steve Smith will be able to play in the third Ashes Test at Headingley on Thursday – despite fears of lingering concussion symptoms.
Smith initially returned to bat on Saturday following the sickening blow to his neck, after being cleared by Aussie doctor Richard Saw, but the 30-year-old woke up with concussion symptoms on Sunday morning.
Under England’s protocol, Smith would already be ruled out for the Headingley Test, with players forced to sit out for at least six days following such incidents.
But Australia have no specific time frame, instead relying on their own medical advice, and vice-captain Travis Head joined talkSPORT to confirm the selectors are hopeful Smith can play.
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“There’s definitely a chance. He’s feeling better day by day, he was certainly a lot better yesterday,” Head said.
“He’ll have a run around and a light training session [today]. It’s about keeping him fresh and making sure we give him the best opportunity to play.
“He hasn’t spent a lot of time in the nets and he’ll want to.
“He’s got no more signs of that concussion and he’s ready to go. He doesn’t need any more extra preparation, he’s been batting beautifully.
“I’m sure he can walk straight out and play, fingers crossed.
“It will be taken out of Steve’s hands. It will be fully down to the doctor and the process they go through. There will be some tests he has to pass.”
The decision to allow Smith to return to bat on Saturday has been questioned by brain experts, and his selection for the third Test would no doubt draw more criticism.
A spokesman for brain injury charity Headway said: “What this incident highlights is that no test for concussion is foolproof. The signs can be delayed for hours and sometimes even a couple of days.
“You cannot take any risks with concussion, which is why we have always said that all sports have to take an ‘if in doubt, sit it out’ approach.
“If there is even a hint of concussion when someone is bowling at 90mph, there is absolutely no way a player should be on the pitch.”