After Victoria Sporting Club’s all-rounder Suhrawardi Shuvo had to be hospitalised due to an injury to the lower right side of his neck while trying to evade a bouncer from Taskin Ahmed, the matter raised concerns about Bangladeshi cricket players’approach towards taking safety measurements on the pitch.
As part of the ICC’s new safety regulations, the BCB had told its athletes to upgrade to helmets with stem-guards. Yet, several professional players have failed to do so due to various reasons, but mostly related to comfort issues.
The stem guard is made of a material called impact-modified thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), a rubbery plastic. It is a clip-on that attaches to the side of the grille. This type of helmet is not available commercially in Bangladesh, but the BCB provided it to those playing for representative sides like the national team and Bangladesh A.
However, while this safety measure is not really mandatory, nevertheless,if Shuvo’s helmet came equipped with a stem guard then the blow to his neck would not have been as fatal as it was. In general, the helmets being used by the Bangladeshi cricketers do meet the basic safety requirements but still does very little to protect the back of the head and the neck.
SoumyaSarkar, one of those using the stem guard, said players often did not want to compromise on comfort. "Using the helmet with the stem guard depends on the person," Soumya told the local media. "I felt comfortable with it, so I started using the type. It is very rare to find a batsman who compromises the comfort of his helmet. Then again, it has only been some time that this guard has been in the market. I do think the cricketers are much more aware now when it comes to safety."
In case the matter of maintaining proper safety measurements is still a topic for debate, then the current generation of cricket players and the cricket board will do well to remember the untimely tragic death of Raman Lamba, the Indian cricketer who suffered a direct blow to the forehead while fielding at short leg. The blow to his forehead caused convulsions to the left side of his brain and by the time he was hospitalised, he had already lost consciousness. He was kept on life support for three days, after which, under consent of his wife, who stayed by his bed side along with his five year old son and two year old daughter, he was put to eternal rest.