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The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced new regulations for helmet safety during men's and women's international matches. The regulations - while not making it compulsory for batsmen to wear helmets - state that when a batsman does elect to do so, the helmet must be compliant with the new British Standard BS7928:2013.
The new regulations will be enforced in international cricket from February 1, 2017. Batsmen will receive official warnings after each of the first two instances that they breach the regulation, and will be suspended for one match should there be a third. The new regulations have been incorporated into the ICC Clothing and Equipment Regulations.
BSS-compliant helmets have a narrower gap between the peak and grille, and are not adjustable on each side, reducing the likelihood of a ball bursting through the opening.
ICC's general manager, cricket, Geoff Allardice, said that the aim is to get all players to wear the safest helmets available.
"Our number one priority is to have all batsmen wearing the safest helmets available rather than to see players sanctioned," Allardice said. "It has been pleasing to see that the vast majority of international players have been wearing compliant helmets since January 1st, but some teams have requested more time to assist them in implementing the new regulation before the sanctioning process commences.
"As such, the extension was granted to enable all teams and players to comply, and after this time the regulations will be strictly enforced."
In June last year, the ICC's cricket committee had recommended that the British Safety Standard helmets be mandatory in international cricket. In November 2015, the ECB made it mandatory for all professional cricketers in England to wear helmets complying with British Standard BS7928:2013 while batting or fielding close to the wicket.