County news April 19, 2016

'All credit to the new helmet' - Chris Nash

Chris Nash gets checked over by the physio after the blow to the helmet © Getty Images

Sussex opener Chris Nash has credited wearing a helmet with a fixed grille from preventing a broken nose after he was hit on the head while batting in the County Championship match with Essex at Hove.

The issue of ECB safety regulations requiring players to wear helmets that comply with a new British Safety Standard has come sharply into focus this week. England Test captain Alastair Cook, who is playing in this match, wore a new-style helmet for the first time in Essex's first innings - scoring 1 from five balls - and has been reluctant to make the switch.

Cook's former England team-mate Jonathan Trott also batted in an old-style helmet on Monday during Warwickshire's match with Middlesex at Lord's, before switching to an ECB-approved design on Tuesday and going on to record a double-century.

Nash was hit when trying to hook a Jamie Porter bouncer at the start of his second innings. The ball struck Nash on the peak of the helmet, leaving him with a scratch on the bridge of his nose, but he was able to continue after a few minutes' treatment, eventually making 92.

"The new helmet definitely helped as they claim the grille is immovable and it proved that today," Nash said. "I was very fortunate to get hit and be able to carry on so all credit to the new helmet.

"I think it would have gone through with the old-style helmet because there is a bigger gap in the grille so I wouldn't be looking quite so pretty now. I'm pretty sure it would have broken my nose."

Nash, who scored 119 in Sussex's first innings, has been using a helmet with a non-adjustable grille for the last two seasons. The change to ECB regulations came in this year, in an effort to minimise injuries caused by balls bursting through the gap between the grille and the peak of the helmet. Craig Kieswetter was forced to retire last year after being hit in the eye by a short-pitched delivery, while Stuart Broad suffered a broken nose while batting against India at Old Trafford in 2014.

Cook has reportedly expressed his dissatisfaction with the new designs due to the reduced field of vision but he will have another chance to get used to the change when Essex bat again in the second innings at Hove.

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

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