London: Helmets will be compulsory from next season for all batsmen, wicketkeepers and close fielders in English county cricket, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said Friday.
The new rules apply to male and female professionals and were recommended in safety reviews after the death of Australia`s Phil Hughes, who was struck just below the helmet by a ball while batting for New South Wales.
ECB chief medical officer Nick Peirce said cricket was a relatively safe sport, and would be even more so under the new guidelines.
"We can see from our injury surveillance that cricket is not a dangerous sport in comparison to many other leisure activities," he said.
"However, as we have seen in recent times, the cricket ball can cause significant injury and it is extremely important that players take the appropriate precautions when batting, keeping wicket or fielding close to the stumps.
"The latest cricket helmets have made significant strides in providing protection against potentially catastrophic injury and we would strongly advise all players to make sure their helmet conforms to the latest British Safety Standard."
The use of protective headgear is already mandatory for under-18s in recreational cricket and the ECB is urging all adult cricketers to wear helmets.