During the second test series of the Ashes being played between Australia and England, Jofra Archer, British fast bowler sent the Australian batsman, Steve Smith, collapsing face down after a bouncer hit him at a sickening speed on the side of his neck. Smith managed to walk off the field a little while later to have a proper concussion check done. This was done under the applause from the crowd. It was, however, upon return to the field that he got booed. Some sections within the British crowd wanted to send out a reminder about his 12-month ban due to ball-tampering.
ACA Speak Out against Verbal Abuse
The Australian Cricketer’s Association which acts as a representative body for the Australian cricketers, condemned the situation where an injured player is receiving abuse for a matter which was already dealt with. During a joint statement Alistair Nicholson, chief executive and Greg Dyer, president, also stated that not only does the sport of cricket deserve better behaviour, but especially so at Lord’s which many consider as the heart and home of cricket. They applauded Smith’s bravery and stated that his conduct should much rather be praised. Many other former stars on the Australian side also applauded the courage of Smith.
The consensus was that the correct protocol was followed to send the injured Smith off the field to be able to do proper checks to determine whether he has a concussion or not. In recent years the Australian cricket world already lost the former teammate of Smith at Sheffield Shield, based in Sydney, in 2014. Phillip Hughes got hit by a bouncer during a domestic game and died due to the injury. After Hughes’s unfortunate death, wearing a neck guard was introduced, but remained optional. During this recent incident, Smith was wearing a helmet, but no neck guard. The event might lead again to reconsidering the neck guard and maybe make it part of compulsory wear in the future.
Smith Missing Out on the Third Series
After Smith did return to the field, his performance was mostly unsteady. Now it was confirmed that the star performer on the Australian side would have to sit out for the third series. Thus far he has been delivering excellent performance with scoring two centuries during his three innings up to now. 144, 142 and 92 are what he managed to achieve before being hit by the bouncer.
Smith did pass the initial testing for a concussion, but then, later on, showed signs of a mild concussion and he was out of the rest of the match. Smith stated that he would be playing at Headingley if he was declared fit enough according to the set protocol to play. This is, unfortunately, not the case now. The Aussies will now have to face the English without their star player. Smith will be replaced by Marnus Labuschagne, who stands in as concussion substitute.