Looking on to the Steve Smith injury in the Second Ashes Test, the BCCI has briefed Team India Players on the importance of wearing an anti-concussion helmet.
At day four of a draw at Lord’s Steve Smith was hit by a deadly bouncer by Archer while batting in the field. Smith immediately collapsed to the ground after the fierce ball from Jofra Archer hit him on his neck. It was a very similar kind of incident seen to Phil Hughes who was hit on the base of the skull by a bouncer in a Sheffield Shield game in 2014.
After a strong blow to Steve Smith, national team sports medicine chief said that there must be a compulsion of neck guards on helmets for Australian cricketers on the field. The ICC is yet to make a final decision on this issue.
As far as BCCI is concerned, they have left it on the players to decide. The BCCI speaks on to the players’ comfort rather than their safety.
“Once the new rules on concussions came into effect, the BCCI briefed the captain as well as the coaching staff about it. We have told them about helmets with an anti-concussion element — neck guards. A few players including Shikhar Dhawan use it but we can’t force them. A helmet is also about the matter of comfort,” – a senior BCCI official said.
“But the helmet is something that a player should be comfortable with. Some players may find it difficult to maneuver or feel a bit discomfort around the neck region. Till ICC doesn’t make it mandatory, I believe we should leave it up to the players,” – he added.
The former India spinner Harbhajan Singh came out to put his opinion about the neck guard. He feels that the neck guards cannot be made mandatory based on Smith’s technique only.
“I would always listen to what Sunil Gavaskar has to say with regards to playing short balls. Watch the ball till last moment. But the odd delivery will hit you. It’s all about the technique. Look at the bowlers of yesteryears. Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Imran Khan and in our time Shoaib Akhtar, Brett Lee. They were all quick,”- Harbhajan Singh said.
“You can’t tell a youngster to copy Steve Smith’s technique. It’s very unique and very effective. But for him only. Also, every team doesn’t have a Jofra Archer-like bowler. It could be against a team with medium pacers on Feroz Shah Kotla. Why do you need a neck guard there,” – Harbhajan added.