London - Helmets will be compulsory from
next season for all batsmen, wicketkeepers and close fielders in English county
cricket, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said on Friday.
The new rules apply to male and female
professionals and were recommended in safety reviews after the death of
Australia's Phil Hughes, who was struck just below the helmet by a ball while
batting for New South Wales.
ECB chief medical officer Nick Peirce said
cricket was a relatively safe sport, and would be even more so under the new
"We can see from our injury
surveillance that cricket is not a dangerous sport in comparison to many other
leisure activities," he said.
"However, as we have seen in recent
times, the cricket ball can cause significant injury and it is extremely
important that players take the appropriate precautions when batting, keeping
wicket or fielding close to the stumps.
"The latest cricket helmets have made
significant strides in providing protection against potentially catastrophic
injury and we would strongly advise all players to make sure their helmet
conforms to the latest British Safety Standard."
The use of protective headgear is already
mandatory for under-18s in recreational cricket and the ECB is urging all adult
cricketers to wear helmets.