ICC to issue helmet to umpires during ICC World T20 in India
Australian John Ward was hospitalised after being hit on the head during a Ranji Trophy match in India.
New Delhi: In the aftermath of two umpires being hospitalised in the past two months for on-field injuries, the International Cricket Council (ICC) will issue helmets to officials to increase safety.
A report in cricket.com.au on Friday quoted English umpire Richard Kettleborough to confirm the new development.
"I know for the T20 World Cup we're all going to be issued helmets. We're not obliged to wear them, it's totally up to us, but it's certainly something I'll be taking on board and thinking about," Kettleborough said.
In December, Australian John Ward was hospitalised after being hit on the head during a Ranji Trophy match in India, while Kettleborough himself received a heavy blow to the shin while officiating in an One-Day International (ODI) between Australia and India in Canberra on January 20.
"In the last three or four years, the fitness and the strength of the players has increased dramatically, and the bats are so much better than ever before, so the guys are hitting the ball a lot harder.
"We've seen some umpires being hit in recent times and it's becoming quite dangerous, certainly in T20 and one-day cricket especially," Kettleborough added.
Australian umpire Gerard Abood decided to wear a helmet as protection in the Big Bash League recently which was keenly watched by his peers. Ward then wore a helmet in an ODI.
"Our safety, as with the players, is paramount. The non-strikers are in danger too, as is the bowler in his follow-through, there's no doubt about that. It's only a matter of time before someone gets hit quite badly," he reasoned.
ICC World Twenty20 will be held in Indian from March 16 to April 6.
(With Agency inputs)