Who was the first cricketer to bat at No. 12 in a Test match?

The Laws of Cricket, which are maintained by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), state that ‘A match is played between two sides, each of eleven players…’ Hence, historically, it was impossible for any cricketer to bat at No. 12 in any match, Test or otherwise. However, on August 1, 2019, the International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced a ruling that gave teams playing first-class cricket, including Test cricket, the option of making a Concussion Replacement Request for any player ‘ diagnosed with concussion or suspected concussion’. The ruling further stipulated that any replacement should be a ‘like-for-like player whose inclusion will not excessively advantage his team for the remainder of the match’.

Thus, on September 2, 2019, in the second innings of the second Test of the India tour of West Indies at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, Jermaine Blackwood replaced Darren Bravo as a concussion substitute. The latter retired hurt on 23 on the fourth morning, having been hit on the head by a bouncer from India fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah the previous evening; a subsequent medical examination confirmed that Bravo was, in fact, suffering from concussion.

Blackwood went on to score 38 before being caught at the wicket, again off Bumrah, but his arrival at the crease meant that fast bowler Shannon Gabriel – a bona fide tailender, with a Test average of just 4.32 with the bat – was demoted from his usual No.11 position and came in at No. 12. Gabriel may have made history, but there was to be no fairytale ending for him or his team. In fact, he was at the crease for just four minutes and faced just one delivery, without scoring, before West Indies’ captain Jason Holder was clean bowled by Ravindra Jadeja for 39, giving India victory by 257 runs.

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