Australian batters will have to wear neck protectors on their helmets when facing fast or medium-pace bowlers for the 2023/24 season, Cricket Australia announced Thursday.
The governing body has recommended neck guards be used since Australian batsman Phillip Hughes was killed after a bouncer hit him in the neck during a game in Sydney in 2014.
The rule does not apply to facing spinners or for wicketkeepers and close-in fielders.
Stars such as Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith and David Warner had resisted wearing them but neck protectors will be mandatory in men’s and women’s matches when the new season starts in early October, Cricket Australia said.
Smith had earlier said the neck guards made him “feel claustrophobic”. He was not wearing a neck guard when struck by a Jofra Archer dfelivery at Lord’s in the 2019 Ashes.
Warner said in 2016 that he does “not and will not wear” one because it “digs into” his neck and is an “uncomfortable distraction”.
“Protecting the head and neck is extremely important in our sport,” Cricket Australia’s head of operations Peter Roach said in a statement.
He said the decision was based on “a lot of advice and consultation with a wide range of experts and stakeholders”.
The decision comes a week after Australian all-rounder Cameron Green had to leave the field with concussion after a bouncer hit the side of his helmet during his team’s win over South Africa in a one-day international match.
Other changes announced included the scrapping of six runs being awarded automatically during Big Bash League matches to batters who hit the roof of Melbourne’s Docklands Stadium.
- With inputs from PTI
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