Mark Taylor calls for fence boundary to make a comeback after Smith concussion

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Former Australia captain Mark Taylor has called for fence boundary to make a comeback in cricket, citing the concussion to Steve Smith while fielding in second T20I against Sri Lanka. In the match, Smith, fielding at deep mid-wicket, dived full length to grab the ball over boundary rope and flicked it back to the field.

But in the process, he hit his head on the ground and was immediately attended to by the medical staff. Smith didn’t field for the remainder of the match as Australia won via the Super Over. The concussion ruled out Smith from rest of the T20I series. But he is expected to be fit in time for the three-Test tour of Pakistan in March.

Smith’s concussion comes just after batter Will Pucovski was substituted from a Sheffield Shield match due to a volleyball hitting him on the head during the warm-up. It was the 11th concussion of Pucovksi’s largely interrupted cricketing career. Taylor, for now, wants for fence boundaries to return in the game with a twist.

“One of the reasons they brought boundary ropes off the fence was for the players’ safety, to stop them colliding with fences. The problem is they’re now getting other injuries, because they have this room to try to save balls like Smith did the other day, which is leading to injuries,” Taylor was quoted as saying by ‘Wide World of Sports’.

“I’m not sure the ropes — which I think are ridiculously getting closer to the middle all the time — I’m not sure they are doing their job. I would love the game to go back to the fences. When I was on the (International Cricket) Committee I actually mentioned a number of times that why wouldn’t you consider having fences made out of that hard rubber, like they do in baseball,” added Taylor, who played 104 Tests for Australia.

Taylor feels his suggestion of boundary fences which will be soft would help prevent serious injuries to players on-field. “To me that would be no less dangerous than having a rope on the ground where players are running as hard as they possibly can, leaping in the air, sometimes tripping on the rope… or landing as Smith did the other day and sustaining concussion. You’re not going to get rid of injuries, it’s part of playing sport unfortunately. So why not maximise the game, which is bring back the fence.”

Taylor pointed out bringing soft fences on boundary ropes brings an element of entertainment and help slower bowlers too. “I think it would (add to the spectacle), I think it would certainly help slow bowlers, who must be finding it more and more difficult to keep the ball inside the boundaries. The bats have got better, the players are fitter and stronger than in my time, so the ball is travelling further. Yet somehow the boundary ropes are getting closer and closer to the batsmen, which does not make sense to me.”

Taylor signed off by saying that at times, being a good fielder like Smith has its own bad effects too. “He’s the sort of guy who does those extremely acrobatic things in the field, no matter where he is. You’ve seen him take some incredible catches in the slips and in gully. He is a terrific fielder. But sometimes being a terrific fielder can do yourself more harm than good.”

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