The England and Wales Cricket Board has issued new safety guidance on the wearing of cricket helmets by young players.
It is recommended that a helmet is worn by young players when batting and when standing up to the stumps when keeping wicket against a hard cricket ball in matches and in practice.
A young player should not be allowed to bat or to stand up to the stumps when keeping wicket without a helmet against a hard ball except with written parental consent. Coaches, teachers, managers and umpires should always ensure that a young player wears a helmet if this written parental consent has not been received.
Players should regard a helmet with a faceguard as a normal item of protective equipment when batting against a hard ball, together with pads, gloves and, for boys, an abdominal protector (box).
There is a British Standard (BS7928:1998) for cricket helmets and it is in the best interests of players to ensure that their helmet conforms to this standard.
The ECB is recommending that this guidance is followed by all players up to the age of 18. It applies to young players in adult cricket as well as to all junior cricket played with a hard cricket ball.
The ECB is requesting that the new guidance is communicated to the parents or guardians of all young players through clubs and schools, and that parental consent is always obtained before young players are allowed to bat or stand up to the stumps when keeping wicket against a hard ball without wearing a helmet.
The ECB has also extended the existing regulations covering the minimum fielding distances for young players in all matches where a hard ball is used.
No young player in the Under 15 age group or younger shall be allowed to field closer than 8 yards (7.3 metres) from the middle stump, except behind the wicket on the off side, until the batsman has played at the ball.
For players in the Under 13 age group and below the distance is 11 yards (10 metres).
These minimum distances apply even if the player is wearing a helmet.
Should a young player in these age groups come within the restricted distance the umpire must stop the game immediately and instruct the fielder to move back.
In addition any young player in the Under 16 to Under 18 age groups, who has not reached the age of 18, must wear a helmet and, for boys, an abdominal protector (box) when fielding within 6 yards (5.5 metres) of the bat, except behind the wicket on the off side. Players should wear appropriate protective equipment whenever they are fielding in a position where they feel at risk.
These fielding regulations are applicable to all cricket in England and Wales. Age groups are based on the age of the player at midnight on 31st August in the year preceding the current season.
More detailed advice on the implementation of this new safety guidance is being distributed to all the cricketing bodies involved with young players and the ECB Cricket Department will be happy to answer questions on any aspect of the new guidance.
Please call Frank Kemp on 020 7432 1216, write to the ECB at
Lords or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org