Cricket Australia (CA) on Thursday announced the implemention of a new rule, requiring all Australian domestic and international players to wear a neck guard from October 1.
Players not following the new rules will be sanctioned in accordance with the rules, the CA said.
Following the death of Phillip Hughes in 2014, the CA had recommended the use of neck protectors however, a number of top Aussie cricketers like David Warner and Steve Smith have refused to wear them. Intrestingly, Smith has firsthand experience of being hit and suffering a concussion. The former Aussie skipper was hit by a Jofra Archer bouncer during the Lord’s Test of Ashes 2019 and was forced to miss the next game.
But now, the new rule states that the players must wear the neck protectors starting October 1 when playing at home or in international cricket abroad, or face sanctions under new CA rules.
“Protecting the head and neck is extremely important in our sport,” said CA’s Head of Cricket Operations and scheduling, Peter Roach.
The development comes just a week after Australia all-rounder Cameron Green was hit by a Kagiso Rabada bouncer on the neck guard, forcing him to leave the first ODI against South Africa with a concussion.
Before CA, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had mandated the use of neck guards since October last year.
Commenting on the new rule, Peter Roach, CA’s Head of Cricket Operations and Scheduling, said a lot of research and testing had gone into neck protectors and the governing body now felt that it was right to make them compulsory.
“Protecting the head and neck is extremely important in our sport,” Roach said.
“The neck protector product 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. We’ve certainly seen over a period of time players wearing them and becoming accustomed to wearing them,” he added.
Meanwhile, in an another change the automatic six-run bonus for batters who hit the roof of Melbourne’s Docklands Stadium during Big Bash League matches has been eliminated. If the umpires believe the ball would have cleared the boundary, they will now award a six.
Also, the use of COVID replacements, who replaced positively tested players for coronavirus, has also been discontinued.