If you’re looking for your son’s cricket gear for 2017, you’ve come to the right place. However, it’s important you know why you need the gear the school or club is asking you to buy. It’s expensive and you might consider getting something that’s not of the same quality to save a few bucks or just doing away with it.

The Daily Maverick ran this article in 2014, just after the tragic death of Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes, which highlighted the importance of protecting players.


Following the tragic death of Phillip Hughes last week, much has been made about the safety of cricket and, in particular, the safety of the protective gear players wear. Hughes died after being hit in the neck by a bouncer. The impact caused a haemorrhage in the brain. The injury itself - in medical terms, a vertebral artery dissection, leading to subarachnoid haemorrhage - is an incredibly rare condition. Call it a freak accident, if you will. But, of course, one freak accident is an accident too many.

Cricket can be a dangerous sport, of that there is no doubt. It is one of the reasons why there are rules and regulations and why players wear helmets and other guards. The Hughes incident has, rightly, prompted helmet manufacturers and players to call for the safety of their gear to be reassessed. Looking at ways to protect the batsmen’s neck, without restricting movement, is one thing helmet manufacturers have said they will be looking at. The helmets themselves are also constantly evolving to absorb pressure better and be safer for those who play the game.

But all the protective gear in the world will not be a substitute for the correct technique. It’s no secret that batsmen are getting hit far more often than they used to before helmets became commonplace. The protective gear can, in some cases, breed complacency.
Helmets have, in some cases, given players a false sense of security. Pulling or hooking short balls happens far more often than it used to and even the lower order batsmen have no problem taking on the quicks. It is vital that the correct technique is taught from a young age. When a fast bowler is steaming in, batsmen have very little time to actually make a decision. Batsmen have about 0.4 seconds to think about how to react to a short ball. In those few moments, the fight or flight instinct kicks in.

Some have suggested that a solution would be to simply ban the bouncer from being used until the correct and best protective gear is invented. While that solution has its merits, it’s a delivery that forms part of the game. Former New Zealand fast bowler Iain O’Brien brilliantly expressed why this delivery is so important and why it should remain as part of the game.

Respect to the sport and its dangers, as well as ensuring all players and officials are equipped with the right technique and the best protective gear. This is a far more rational approach than trying to completely alter the sport’s existence.

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