Langer Says Smith Blow May See Neck Guards Become Compulsory

Written by Vipin Darwade

Australia coach Justin Langer said there may come a time when Steve Smith has to wear a neck guard on his helmet whether he likes it or not after the star batsman was felled by a bouncer in the second Ashes Test against England at Lord’s on Saturday.

Smith had made 80 on the fourth day when he was struck by a short ball from fast bowler Jofra Archer, timed at 92.4 mph (148.7 kph), on an unprotected part of his neck.

Smith, who fell to the ground, retired hurt after receiving on-field treatment.

But after just 46 minutes away, he returned at the fall of the next wicket before he was lbw to Chris Woakes for 92.

“He (Smith) just doesn’t feel right (wearing a stem guard),” said Langer.

“I know they came in after the tragedy of Hughesy. He might rethink it now after seeing what happened today, but you’d have to ask him that.

“At the moment, the players have a choice and I wouldn’t be surprised if they become mandatory in the future.”

“When you get hit, it’s always in the back of your mind,” said Langer.

“Any batsman who tells you it’s not is a liar. But he (Smith) is also the sort of person who will do everything from now until the next time he bats — whether it’s mentally, visualising or practising — to be right.”

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Vipin Darwade