London, Aug 18 : Australia coach Justin Langer explained the decision to allow Steve
Smith 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 Jofra Archer 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
"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 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
"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)