Coach Langer explains decision to allow Smith to bat again after being hit by Archer’s nasty bouncer

Last Updated: Sunday, 18 August 2019 (14:10 IST)
London: explained the decision to allow to resume batting in the Lord’s Test, less than an hour after he retired hurt from a sickening blow to the neck by a bouncer.
 
Smith was batting on 80 when a searing short ball by Archer left him lying prostrate on the ground. It took a while for him to get up, even as physios rushed out to his aid.
 
Australia team doctor Richard Saw conducted precautionary concussion tests on Smith - once on the field and twice in the dressing room - and the 30-year-old cleared all of them.
 
Smith then re-emerged, after the fall of Peter Siddle’s wicket, when Australia were 218/7. It came as a surprise to many, but Langer said that the batsman had passed all the required tests and assured everyone that he was good to bat on, an ICC report said.
 
“You never like seeing your players get hit like that, and there’s obviously some pretty rough memories. There was no fun in it,” Langer said. “He passed all of the tests, then he came back in the change room and he had a bit of a smile on his face. He was more worried about his arm actually, his arm was sore.”
 
“He wouldn’t have gone out there unless we thought he was okay. We asked him over and over again. I asked him behind closed doors two or three and times and in front of the group. What else do you do? The medics cleared him, he wanted to get out there,” Langer said.
 
Langer further said that Smith was more concerned about getting his name up on the honours board at Lord’s. The Australia No.4 has scored 378 runs in three innings in this Ashes series, at a whopping average of 126. Unfortunately for him, though, he could muster only another 12 runs upon his return and fell eight runs short of a third successive century.
 
“I was saying, ‘mate, are you sure you’re okay?’ These are like my sons right, so you’re never going to put them in harm’s way, even though you’re always in harm’s way with Test cricket. But he’s going, ‘mate, I’ve got to get out there, I can’t get on the honour board unless I’m out batting’,” Langer said.
 
Smith prefers to not have the stem guard, an accessory that might have at the very least softened or partially deflected the blow from Archer’s bouncer, on his helmet.
 
However, Langer mused that the New South Wales batsman might have to reconsider his stance on the protective attachment, which currently is not compulsory.
 
“I’m sure after today it’ll get talked about again, I know they came in after the tragedy of Hughesy (Phil Hughes),” Langer said. “So I’m sure it’ll get talked about, and he might rethink it now, after seeing what happened today, but you’d have to ask him that. At the moment, the players have a choice, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they become mandatory in the future.” (UNI)
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