When we watch a game of cricket being played, one of the most common site is that of a batsman wearing a helmet! While the reason for wearing a helmet may be obvious to some of us, but an interesting question that I’m often asked is, “Is it compulsory to wear a cricket helmet?”.
So, is it compulsory to wear a helmet in cricket? Currently, it is not compulsory to wear a helmet in the game of cricket. However, if a cricket player does choose to wear a helmet, it should be compliant with the British Standard BS7928:2013 as per the amended ICC Clothing and Equipment Regulations from 1st January 2017.
The question of whether or not wearing a helmet should be compulsory has prompted a global debate in the cricketing world in the recent past especially with the Phil Hughes incident.
However, if you do decide to buy a helmet, we have compiled a list of helmet manufacturers that are compliant with British Standard BS7928:2013 and are approved by ICC. So, let’s learn a bit more about the rules around wearing a cricket helmet.
Why do Cricketers Wear a Helmet?
Cricket can be a dangerous game, and as a player, you need all the protection possible in order to perform to the best of your ability and with full confidence.
The human head is quite fragile despite the presence of a strong skull. A blow to a human head can most certainly result in a fatal incident.
Thus, the main purpose of wearing a helmet is to protect the head of a player from accidentally getting hit by a cricket ball in the head. A helmet is considered as one of many protective gears that a cricket player wears while playing the game.
Who Wears a Helmet in the game of Cricket?
Helmets, in the game of cricket, are worn by a batsman and fielders who are fielding specifically in a close proximity to a batsman as they have a higher chance of getting hit on the head.
The most obvious fielder to wear a helmet would be a wicket keeper as he has the most danger of getting hit not just by a batsman but also by a quick ball from the bowler.
Other fielding positions where players typically tend to wear a helmet are – Silly Point, Forward Short Let, Backward Short Leg, or even a Leg Slip or sometimes a Leg Gully especially when a spin bowler is bowling.
Why do Some Batsmen NOT Wear a Helmet in Cricket?
As we have established above that wearing a helmet, although not compulsory, can be important to avoid any serious injuries.
However, there have been times that cricket players have refused to wear a helmet. This was most common in the 1970s & 1980s and often prior to that.
The most common reason cited by most players was that they seem to find it distracting to play with a helmet on.
Another set of cricketers chose to wear a helmet only while playing a fast bowler, and often a helmet would go off when they were playing a spin bowler considering that chances of being hit on the head were far lower while facing a spin bowler.
Some of the other notable players included the great Vivian Richards, Mohammed Azharuddin & Ajay Jadeja (even in the late 1990s). There are times when even MS Dhoni has been seen playing without a helmet.
What are the new ICC Regulations of Wearing a Cricket Helmet?
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has indicated that when it comes to cricket helmets, their aim is to have all batsmen wearing the safest helmets available.
Thus, in January 2017, ICC came out with a new regulations for wearing a cricket helmet as part of its amended Clothing and Equipment Regulations.
The new regulations stipulate that if any player when batting elects to wear a helmet, in international cricket, that it must be compliant with the new British Standard (BSi) – BS7928:2013.
Any player found wearing a non-compliant helmet will be issued an official warning for the first two matches each. If there is a third breach by the same player, he shall be suspended for one match.
As part of the BS7928:2013 standards, ICC introduced 2 key features for all helmets to be compliant with ICC. The helmet manufacturers need to ensure that the new helmets have passed –
- Facial contact projectile test that assesses for penetration of the ball through the faceguard, and contact of the faceguard onto the face, using realistic ball impact speeds and conditions.
- Head protectors have been tested separately against men’s and junior sized cricket balls.
How to ensure that a helmet is compliant with ICC’s new Regulations?
All the helmets that have passed the required standards, and has undergone all the necessary testing as stated above, shall be clearly labelled as “BS7928:2013”. Furthermore, the label shall further mention the size of the ball against which it has been tested (Standard cricket ball or junior cricket ball)
List of Helmet Manufacturers Compliant with ICC Regulations
ICC has indicated a list of helmet manufacturers that are compliant with its new regulations. These are both for senior and junior cricket.
Below is a table indicating all the the helmet brands.
|Gunn & Moore
|Incredible Cricket Company
|Standford Cricket Industries
|Stealth Cricket Helmet
What is the “ICC Concussion” rule?
ICC also recently came out with a new concussion rule in order to tend to injury caused to a cricketer due to a blow on his head by a cricket ball.
As per the ICC’s concussion rule, a team is allowed to replace a player who has been hit on the head by a bouncer during a match. As per the rules, the there needs to be a like-for-like substitution. The match referee is empowered to make decisions in order to enforce a like-for-like substitution.
Will it be made Compulsory to Wear Helmets in the Future?
It is difficult to predict the future, however, going by the current trends it is highly likely that it may be made compulsory for a batsman to wear a helmet even when playing a spin bowler.
Such initiatives have already been taken up by the cricket boards in some of the countries.
Cricket Australia (CA), the Australian Cricket Board, has already taken an initiative to enforce the compulsory helmet rule in is domestic circuits.
Furthermore, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has already mandated for all batsmen in the domestic cricket to wear a helmet while batting even when facing medium pace or spin bowling. Additionally, it has also made it compulsory for a fielder to wear a helmet while fielding within 8 yards of the wicket.
Going by the historic trends, ICC has been often known to take successful experiments conducted by the ECB in domestic cricket and replicate it at the international level.