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Umpire Paul Reiffel has dismissed the idea of wearing a helmet while officiating in Test matches, despite suffering a concussion after being hit by a fielder's throw on the first day of the fourth Test of the ongoing India-England series. Reiffel is currently home in Melbourne, after the ICC deemed him unfit to take the field in the final Test in Chennai.
Speaking to Fairfax Media, the former Australia fast bowler said wearing a helmet would complicate the umpiring process for him. "It would be too heavy and too hot, five days with a helmet on, it just would be impossible," he said. "It's hard to hear [with the helmet on]. I've put one on and thought 'could I umpire in this?', and I thought I'd really struggle."
Reiffel, who was standing at square leg when he was hit by a throw from India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar, said the accident occurred because he took his eyes off the ball thinking it was dead. "Always keep your eye on the ball," he said. "I just didn't do it. I feel a bit silly not doing that. It's like playing; if you watch the ball you should come out all right. It was just an accident. I'd back myself to get out of the way if I see it coming."
"The batsmen had stopped running, the fieldsmen were taking their time. I must have relaxed and expected him to throw it to the keeper over my head and he decided to throw it halfway to the fieldsman. He got it wrong and hit me on the back of my head. It got me behind the ear and hit me flush, that's what's done the damage."
He said he could remember little of what happened thereafter, and, in hindsight, was glad the ICC took the decision to make him stand down for the rest of the Test. "Apart from that, I don't really remember a lot about it. I suppose it did hurt. I've watched the replay and I went down pretty quick. I was rolling around a bit. It certainly shook me up.
"The next day you feel as though you should be out there. The England cricket team doctor put me through a few tests and I didn't pass them that well, so they decided it was best not to do the Test and have a bit of a rest and come back later. The ICC decided it was for the best I had the rest. I'm glad about that because I needed it. I was pretty sick for a few days there."
Reiffel is expected to return for the New Zealand-Bangladesh ODI series, which begins on Boxing Day.