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Azhar to make final call after head knock

AAP logoAAP 29/12/2016 Roger Vaughan

Pakistan's Azhar Ali will have the final say on whether he returns to the field in the Boxing Day Test, regardless of medical advice.

The circumstances surrounding his blow to the head on Thursday highlighted the lack of a concussion protocol for international cricket.

Azhar was fielding at bat pad on Thursday when Matthew Wade middled a pull shot.

He ducked his head and Wade's well-hit shot struck him on the top of the helmet.

Azhar was able to walk from the field after several minutes.

Pakistan are not touring with a doctor, so Australia's Peter Brukner gave Azhar two concussion assessments.

Azhar was passed fit to play for Friday's final day, but he will be offered another test in the morning.

"He's fit and he's alright - he's being monitored by the medical staff and he should be alright," said Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood.

"He was fine - whenever you get hit on the head, you get slight dizziness.

"They have to monitor him throughout the night.

"He's not serious, he's fine and he's walking around, he should be okay for tomorrow."

But the current situation in Test cricket dictates that even if Brukner had decided Azhar should not return to the field, it would be up to the player.

Brukner is a veteran Australian sports doctor and has a strict approach to player concussion issues.

Concussion has become a major issue in world sport, particularly among the major football codes.

The Phil Hughes tragedy two years ago has also focussed cricket's attention on the subject.

Azhar top-scored with 205no in Pakistan's first innings.

The opener crumpled to the ground after Thursday's incident and was examined by trainers, with Wade also rushing over to check on him.

But he was soon back to his feet and able to walk from the ground.

It was the first time Azhar has been absent from the field given his unbeaten six-hour innings.

The ball was caught by Babar Azam after ricocheting off Azhar's helmet.

Under the rules, it is considered a dead ball once it hits a fielder's helmet, however the MCC Cricket Committee is reportedly considering changing this to allow such catches.

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