Big Bash League 2015-16 December 30, 2015

Umpire Abood officiates at BBL in helmet

Gerard Abood (centre): 'I'd rather put one on just before I get hit than just after' © Getty Images

Umpire Gerard Abood became the first on-field official to wear head protection in an Australian fixture during Melbourne Renegades' Big Bash League fixture against Perth Scorchers on Wednesday.

Abood said he had been weighing up protection for some time due to the increased power in the modern game. "I've had close shaves in the past, a couple have been real tight and they weigh on your mind," Abood told the Cricket Australia website. "I thought, 'What needs to happen before we do put one on?' I'd rather put one on just before I get hit than just after.

"The T20 game has evolved to the stage where guys are practising specifically whacking balls as hard as they can and it's just coming off faster and faster. As far as I'm concerned, it has just reached the point where it makes sense on every level, we're only 24 yards from the bat and if it's coming back at us pretty quickly there's not a hell of lot of time to move."

Abood wore a black Masuri batting helmet, but Cricket Australia, the ECB and ICC are working together to design umpire-specific protective gear.

Abood's move comes after his compatriot John Ward was struck on the head during a Ranji Trophy fixture between Punjab and Tamil Nadu on December 1. Pashchim Pathak, the Indian umpire who was stood at square leg when Ward - who is still recovering from concussion - was struck, had also recently worn head protection. In November 2014, Israeli umpire Hillel Awasker died after being hit by a ball during a match in Ashdod.

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  • syed on December 31, 2015, 8:34 GMT

    if you see the shots that andre russel plays - flat and reaches the boundary like a rocket.

  • syed on December 31, 2015, 8:31 GMT

    I think the fast bowlers also should wear some of kind of head gear because they are often off balance in their follow through. I remember one shot played by inzi and the fast bowler was SA - the ball missed him by whisker.

  • rob on December 31, 2015, 2:40 GMT

    Yep, we've got to protect our umpires. They are at work when they're out there and deserve a safe working environment as much as anyone else. .. I worry about the crowd at times. In an early BBL match a six landed just centimetres to the left of an infants head who was sitting on his mums lap. @ imtiazjaleel: Good point. The back of the head exposes the 'Phil Hughes Zone'. @ Edwind: It's completely inevitable that a bowler is going to cop a bad one. It's a minor miracle it hasn't already happened imo.

  • Peter on December 30, 2015, 20:04 GMT

    The way the balls are being hit with the huge bats, I have seen a lot of close calls to date. I think this is the start of this trend & will be surprised if it doesn't catch on. I can see a variation of the helmet for umpires to wear as they develop speciality lids for officials.

  • Edwin on December 30, 2015, 13:16 GMT

    What about the bowler - he has no chance as he's off balance and a lot closer to the ball........

  • John on December 30, 2015, 10:22 GMT

    It's a no-brainer really!!

  • syed on December 30, 2015, 10:03 GMT

    Right decision, even i feel the police or the guards standing on the boundaries facing the crowd should also wear some protective head gear. They can't see the ball coming towards them. I wonder why nobody had thought about it. Maybe there should be some accident and somebody should get hurt then they will take action.

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