Harper still in hospital following head knock

Young Victoria wicketkeeper still under observation in Adelaide hospital three days after taking accidental blow to the head

Victoria wicketkeeper Sam Harper is still showing symptoms from the blow to the head he received in last weekend's Sheffield Shield match and remains in hospital.

Cricket Victoria confirmed the 20-year-old had not yet fully recovered from the injury in the match against South Australia and would remain in hospital in Adelaide "so he can continue treatment and to be reviewed by specialists".

"We expect to have a clearer indication on when he can return home and his recovery time later this week," Cricket Victoria said in a statement.

Harper struck by bat in Sheffield Shield

Harper was standing up to the stumps to the bowling of spinner Jon Holland shortly before lunch on the second day when West End Redbacks batsman Jake Lehmann looked to whip away a shorter ball to the leg side, inadvertently striking Harper on the head during his follow through.

The 'keeper, who was wearing a helmet at the time, tumbled to the ground as players and medical staff quickly rushed to his aid.

There was a delay in play while Harper was helped from the ground, with umpires then electing to take lunch.

Lehmann, who was on 82 at the time, had hit Holland’s previous delivery for six as he looked to add crucial runs with the Redbacks 9-168 in reply to Victoria’s 184.

Harper was subsequently ruled out of the game and, while a replacement player could have been used, the match would have lost its first-class status.

The Bushrangers were bitterly disappointed when they asked for a replacement player for Harper, who was hospitalised after being struck on the head during South Australia's first innings, but were knocked back by the Redbacks.

Bushrangers quick James Pattinson told SEN yesterday that the talk among the Bushrangers players was that the Vics would have allowed the Redbacks a replacement player had the roles been reversed.

Spin-bowler Holland went as far as to say denying a replacement player "was pretty poor in my opinion" and the Victorian players "were pretty disappointed with South Australia and the way they reacted to it" on RSN radio today.

But using a replacement player would have removed the match's status as a first-class game. Cricket Australia Head of Cricket Operations Sean Cary said it was unlikely the points Victoria earned for their 124-run victory would have been allowed to stand.

"I doubt (the players) understand the severity of making the decision like that," he said.

"Certainly the (Cricket Victoria) administrators behind the scenes were aware that the match could lose its first-class status, but I don't think the players understand what that actually means.

"Definitely none of their statistics would count and as a Technical Committee we would need to discuss whether or not the points would count."

As part of their new approach to head injuries in the wake of the Curtain Report into the death of Phillip Hughes, CA introduced concussion substitutes for all domestic one-day and Twenty20 matches this summer.

But despite wanting to introduce the same rule in the Sheffield Shield, CA opted not to risk their competition's first-class status after the International Cricket Council decided against the implementation of concussion subs at first-class and international level. This means the ICC essentially classifies concussion the same as other injuries. 

However, as part of CA's new concussion guidelines, medical staff will withdraw a player from any match if they are diagnosed with concussion regardless of whether or not a substitute is available.

So while a player who suffers any other form of injury during a match can still technically take the field of play if required - as Cartwright managed to do in the example cited previously - a concussed player would be restricted from doing so.

Nevill struck in face by bat

Harper's incident was the second time this summer a wicketkeeper had been struck by a bat, after Melbourne Renegades gloveman Peter Nevill was taken to hospital during the KFC Big Bash League.

Nevill was standing back to the bowling of Sri Lankan seamer Thisara Perera when Adelaide Strikers captain Brad Hodge swung lustily away to the leg side, accidentally losing his grip on the bat in the process.

The piece of willow then sailed in the direction of Nevill, who was looking in the direction of the ball and was oblivious to the incoming missile, with the bat striking the 'keeper-batsman on the right jawline.