Marnus Labuschagne clubbed two sixers for the Heat against the Stars. Picture: AAP
Marnus Labuschagne clubbed two sixers for the Heat against the Stars. Picture: AAP

Why Marnus won’t wear safety guard

Marnus Labuschagne wants StemGuard manufacturers to invent a smaller protector so that the star batsman can still move his head with the attachment clipped on to his helmet.

Labuschagne, 25, is one of the few remaining players choosing not to wear the neck guard that was designed after the tragic death of Phillip Hughes in 2014.

 

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Steve Smith, who was forced to wear the guard despite feeling "claustrophobic" after being struck on the next by England's Jofra Archer at Lord's last August, revealed he was still struggling to get used them five months on.

That Smith blow gave life to Labuschagne's career as the game's first concussion substitute, although he then underwent four concussion tests in the next eight days.

The Queenslander was also struck by an Archer bouncer in his second delivery after replacing Smith at Lord's, and then by a brilliant Mitchell Starc bouncer in the nets, and then twice within 20 minutes on day three at Leeds.

But Labuschagne has still opted for comfort over protection with world cricket's latest revelation unlikely to wear a StemGuard until they are made mandatory.

"If I have to put it on then I obviously don't have a choice, do I?" Labuschagne said.

"Look, especially if they make them a little bit smaller and I don't feel like my head can't move I'll probably definitely wear it.

"But like I said at this stage I like the freedom of my head to move around.

"We (Smith and me) both can be pretty fussy. It's a strange one, but it's just something you want to make sure you're getting enough movement."

 

Marnus Labuschagne prefers to wear a helmet without a neck guards. Picture: Brett Costello
Marnus Labuschagne prefers to wear a helmet without a neck guards. Picture: Brett Costello

Smith only started wearing one after the frightening blow that ruled him out of the third Ashes Test, although he finds it annoying when it catches on his popped collar.

Labuschagne had never hit a six in T20 cricket before creaming two in his 70-run partnership with Brisbane Heat matchwinner AB de Villiers at the MCG on Saturday night.

"I was probably talking a bit too much for him out there, but it was great fun," Labuschagne said.

"He just kept saying, 'Keep your head still and look to hit straight' so I listened. Amazing - obviously he's someone that growing up I looked up to a lot and to watch him live was pretty awesome.

"The range of shots he can hit, and he can hit the ball everywhere with so much power."

Heat coach Darren Lehmann told Labuschagne off for "fizzing" in his throws at de Villiers' fingers after the South African put on the wicketkeeping gloves to give the line-up an extra bowling option.

"He probably didn't enjoy it much when I was fizzing them in at his fingers. The coach gave me a little, 'Mate, are you trying to break our overseas' finger?'" Labuschagne said.

"I'll try and keep those throws flat."



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