PUT A LID ON IT! NEW LAWS HELMETS
THE ICC have announced tougher regulations on helmet safety which will make it compulsory for batsmen to wear models which adhere to the highest safety standards.
Concerned that not all international cricketers were wearing helmets that will meet standards from February 1 this year, sanctions will be taken against any player not wearing the recommended protection.
An official warning will be issued after each of the first two matches in which a noncompliant helmet is worn, and if there is a third breach the player will be suspended for one match.
The ICC’s general manager of cricket, Geoff Allardice, said: “Our No.1 priority is to have all batsmen wearing the safest helmets available rather than to see players sanctioned.”
The new regulations came into force on January 1, but the ICC have agreed a month’s grace before becoming stricter on enforcing them.
However, the new regulations stop short of making it compulsory for players to wear a helmet simply saying that if they do it must meet the specific safety standards.
This is in contrast to regulations brought in last year by the ECB, which stated that any professional cricketer playing for England or in county cricket must wear a helmet at all times when batting and that helmet must meet the BS7928:2013 standard.
Last April, Andrew Strauss had to intervene to insist that Alastair Cook wear one of the new-style helmets after he began the season batting for Essex in a noncompliant one.
Last year Cricket Australia also introduced new regulations stating that helmets must meet the new safety standards but, unlike the ECB, only stipulated that batsmen must wear helmets against fast or medium pace bowling not against spinners. Indeed David Warner was seen batting in a cap in Australia’s recent series against Sri Lanka.
Other international cricket boards have not adopted the same policies which prompted the ICC’s cricket to make the recommendation to introduce these new sanctions.
Helmets which meet the specified standard have a smaller gap between the top of the grille and the peak of the helmet and have undergone rigorous testing on the resistance of the grille which must be fixed in position rather than being adjustable as previous helmets allowed.
After the death of Phillip Hughes, the Australian batsman who died in November 2014 from bleeding on the brain as a result of the ball striking the back of his head, many cricketers have decided to go beyond.
They have added a neck protector to their batting helmet although this is not a requirement under the new directive.
Anything that improves the safety of the game is surely a positive. Craig Kieswetter had his career ended by a ball striking him having gone through the grille, so a smaller gap is definitely needed. It shouldn’t take suspensions for players to realise that safety is paramount, but there are no problems if that really is the only way to get the message through.
New style: Alastair Cook sports his new helmet for Essex having started the game wearing one of the old-style helmets
Chief: Geoff Allardice