Australian batters will have to wear neck protectors on their helmets when facing fast or medium-pace bowlers for the 2023/24 season, Cricket Australia announced Thursday.
The governing body has recommended neck guards be used since Australian batsman Phillip Hughes was killed after a bouncer hit him in the neck during a game in Sydney in 2014.
Stars such as Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith and David Warner had resisted wearing them but neck protectors will be mandatory in men’s and women’s matches when the new season starts in early October, Cricket Australia said.
“Protecting the head and neck is extremely important in our sport,” Cricket Australia’s head of operations Peter Roach said in a statement.
He said the decision was based on “a lot of advice and consultation with a wide range of experts and stakeholders”.
The decision comes a week after Australian all-rounder Cameron Green had to leave the field with concussion after a bouncer hit the side of his helmet during his team’s win over South Africa in a one-day international match.
Other changes announced included the scrapping of six runs being awarded automatically during Big Bash League matches to batters who hit the roof of Melbourne’s Docklands Stadium.