Clarke embraces new cricket helmet

Michael Clarke is the latest cricketer to embrace a helmet feature that was developed after Phillip Hughes’ death.

Masuri designed a clip-on foam guard for the back of their helmets after Hughes died when he was struck on the neck during a Sheffield Shield game last November.

Clarke initially struggled to get used to the latest Masuri prototype, which has a higher grill in addition to the foam guard.

“Obviously what happened to Hughes, as soon as those new helmets and ear pieces came out I thought I am going to try this,” he said.

“I have just spent the last six months trying to get used to it.”

Cricket Australia’s sports science guru Alex Kountouris recently ran Clarke through a study of helmets, highlighting the way nose and eye injuries can be avoided with the new lids.

And when Chris Rogers was struck in a similar area to Hughes during the second Test, Australia’s skipper decided it was foolish not to fully embrace the change.

“Obviously Hughesy stuff is still on the front of my mind and then next morning Bucky (Rogers) came out and got hit right on the same spot,” Clarke said.

“I got rid of my old helmet there and then and made up my mind I am using the new one.”

It may seem like an insignificant change for casual observers, but Clarke is among the most fastidious operators in the sport.

“My gear hasn’t changed for my whole career. My pads are the same, gloves are the same, so you are used to what you are used to,” he said.

“Because I wear my collar up I can feel it there, it is more of a feel thing, like anything it is just about making that change.”

Cricket Australia is in the process of reworking its recommendations for players and it’s expected they will soon make it compulsory to wear helmets that offer extra neck protection.

Rogers preached the merits of the ‘stemguard’ after avoiding serious injury at Lord’s.

“It certainly cushioned the blow. It’s hard to know what would have happened if I wasn’t wearing it,” Rogers said.

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