Cricket Australia make neck guards compulsory for domestic and international players

Players failing to adhere to the rule which comes into effect from October 1, will face code of conduct penalties.

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Cricket Australia
Cricket Australia. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Cricket Australia (CA) has made it mandatory for its domestic and international players to wear neck guards from October 1. Ahead of the Big Bash League (BBL) 2023-24 season, the apex board announced a number of changes that will be adhered to, one of which includes the neck guard rule.

For the unversed, the neck guard rule was made compulsory in 2015, however, the likes of star players such as David Warner, Steve Smith, and Usman Khawaja among the major names failed to comply. As per the latest developments, CA has made it mandatory for players to wear the guard on their helmets while being up against fast or medium-paced bowlers only.

In addition to this, the rule does not apply to wicketkeepers, players fielding in close line, and those facing spinners. The decision was made following the tragic passing away of Phillip Hughes in 2014, during a match played at the domestic level.

Furthermore, those players failing to adhere to the rule which comes into effect on October 1, will face code of conduct penalties. Peter Roach, head of cricket operations of CA, highlighted the importance of the neck guard and added that the decision was passed after consultation with the experts.

"Protecting the head and neck is extremely important in our sport. 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,” Peter Roach was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

CA makes changes ahead of BBL 2023-24

Among other changes, CA confirmed that the balls hitting the roof of the Docklands Stadium in Melbourne will no longer be given an automatic ‘six’. As per the new rule in place, the on-field umpires will assess if the ball was travelling for six as per the trajectory and if they decide it was not, it will be called a dead ball.

Apart from these changes, a solitary five-minute window will be given for on-field injury assessments, with the exception of concussion assessments in order to speed up play. Moreover, the board has also decided to lift the COVID-19 substitute rule from the playing conditions for the forthcoming season.

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