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New Zealand Domestic T20: Bowler sports a helmet

2.15K   //    24 Dec 2017, 18:11 IST

Otago v Wellington - McDonalds Supersmash
Warren Barnes bowled with a protective headgear

What's the story?

In a domestic T20 game in New Zealand, Otago's Warren Barnes was seen with a protective headgear while bowling against Northern Districts today.

While batsmen and wicket-keepers have been covering their skulls with a helmet for three decades, this was a unique case of a bowler adhering to protect his head from the batsman's powerful hits.

In case you didn't know..

Watch: Luke Fletcher's horrific injury

In the modern days of slambang batting, even on-field umpires have preferred using a helmet to guard their heads against the powerful smashes coming off the batsmen's big blades. In July, Nottinghamshire pacer Luke Fletcher was hit on his head by a straight drive from Sam Hain while the bowler was in his follow through.

Fletcher was immediately taken to hospital as the umpires halted play, and it was only this month that he was given the go-ahead to start training again.

The heart of the matter

The headgear which Barnes sported was designed by Barnes himself along with his Otago coach Rob Walter.

It is a combination of a helmet and a face mask, made in special consideration to Barnes' follow through, where he bends his head, thus taking his eyes off the ball after delivering it. It covers his face only partially while majorly protecting the crown of his head.

What's next?

Barnes was not seen sporting the headgear in Otago's previous completed match of the tournament – one of their matches was washed out without the toss – while it will be intriguing to see how long he continues to wear such gear. Also, it is to be seen if this soon becomes a trend or not.

Author's Take

With modern bats being much more powerful than their ancient counterparts, it was only a matter of time before bowlers sought protection from their batting rivals. Though it would be nearly impossible to bowl with an entirely covered face, bowlers, like umpires, are after safety in a game getting increasingly dominated by the bat.

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A childhood cricket enthusiast, my earliest cricket memory goes back to the 2003 World Cup, when I was 7. With a hobby of cricket commentary and writing from my early days, I earned an invitation for employment by aged only 20, and have also had the opportunity to interact with the great analyst Harsha Bhogle.
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