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County Championship 2023

Steve Smith’s first County Championship innings delayed by 10 minutes due to illegal helmet

Steve Smith fits neckpiece into his helmet
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Steve Smith’s first innings in the County Championship was delayed by 10 minutes because his helmet did not meet the competition’s requirements.

The first match of Smith’s first ever stint in the County Championship for Sussex is currently underway against Worcestershire at New Road. Sussex captain Cheteshwar Pujara opted to bowl, and Ollie Robinson whisked away four early wickets to leave the hosts reeling at 44-5.

Adam Hose (59), Matthew Waite (59), and Joe Leach (53) then helped Worcestershire recover to 264 as Robinson finished with 7-59, the first seven-wicket haul of this season’s Division Two. Sussex lost Tom Clark, and went to stumps at 63-1.


Tom Alsop and Ali Orr both fell within the first 10 balls of the second morning, and Smith emerged to join his captain. He faced eight balls without scoring a run, and Sussex reached 71-3.

At this point the umpires, Chris Watts and Peter Hartley, stopped play, for Smith’s helmet did not meet the standards mandated by the ECC for the County Championship.

As per Appendix A2.3 of the County Championship Playing Conditions, “A protective helmet is headwear made of hard material and designed to protect the head, neck and/or the face. For the purposes of interpreting these Laws of Cricket, such a description will include faceguards, grilles and neck guards.”

Smith’s helmet did not have a neck protector, and play was held up until he fit one into his helmet, thereby meeting the requirements. Smith continued thereafter, making 30 before Josh Tongue (2-33) trapped him leg-before. He helped Pujara add 61 for the fourth wicket.

Sussex were 129-4 at the time of writing, with Pujara on 30 and James Coles yet to score. They trail by another 134.

Smith’s other assignments for Sussex include matches against Leicestershire at Grace Road, Leicester, and a home match at the County Ground in Hove, against Glamorgan.

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