Cricket News: Cricket Australia makes neck guards compulsory from October 1 | Australian players must wear neck guards from October 1
Cricket Australia (CA) will make neck guards compulsory for all Australian players – international and domestic – from October 1. Steve Smith, David Warner and Usman Khawaja have been among those who have chosen not to wear the protector, but CA are standing firm in their position.
CA head of cricket operations Peter Roach said that the neck protector has come a long way in recent years. The decision to make them mandatory comes off the back of various discussions with different stakeholders, with player safety at the forefront of the decision-making process.
“Protecting the head and neck is extremely important in our sport,” Roach said. “The neck protector has come a long way in recent years and the decision to make them mandatory comes off the back of a lot of advice and consultation with a wide range of experts and stakeholders.”
Australian players must wear neck guards from October 1, 2023
CA introduced neck guards in 2015 in the aftermath of Phillip Hughes’ tragic death. However, some Australian players – namely Steve Smith and David Warner – have chosen against wearing them for comfort reasons.
“I do not and will not wear them,” Warner wrote in the New South Wales coroner’s inquest into Hughes’ passing. “When I turn my head wearing a StemGuard, it impedes my neck and restricts the movement of my neck when I turn around to face bowlers. I have tried a StemGuard and it digs into my neck. It is uncomfortable and a distraction.”
Smith has had similar views. “I’ve tried them before and I tried them the other day when I was batting [in the nets] and I reckon my heart rate went up about 30 or 40 straight away. I just feel claustrophobic.”
“They’re probably going to become mandatory,” he continued, “so I’m going to have to get used to them. I’m sure the more I wear them, the more I practice with them, my heart rate will come down and everything will be okay.”
And mandatory it has become. Australian players must wear the neck guard against all fast and medium-fast bowling. It does not apply to facing spinners or for wicketkeepers and close-in fielders.
Also, the October 1 date means every player must wear the guard when facing pace in the upcoming World Cup.
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