John Ward is an Australian international cricket umpire born on 27th April 1962 in Victoria, Melbourne. The former batsman is the first umpire to stand with a safety helmet in an international match.
John Ward was a right handed batsman in his playing days and used to play for Australian first class club Victoria along with the likes of Richard Pattinson. He made his debut for Victoria in a match against India at the MCG. However, Ward failed to get a spot in the national side and only played at the first class level. He retired playing for Victoria and later joined the club's Umpiring panel in 1996 at the age of 34.
Having joined Cricket Victoria Umpiring Panel in 1996, Ward quickly rose through the ranks. He made his first class umpiring debut in 2003 and went on to officiate in 34 matches as well as 45 list A matches, before getting appointed in the Australia National Umpiring Panel in 2004-2005.
His international debut came in a T20 match between Australia and Sri Lanka at ANZ Stadium in 2013. Having stood in three domestic finals including the 2012 KFC T20 Big Bash league, Ward was a given a chance to officiate his first international match. The next year saw him standing in his first One day international. In 2015, Ward was appointed to two Ranji Trophy matches as a part of the international umpire exchange program between Australia, India, South Africa and New Zealand. John ward has stood in 7 ODI’s as well as 8 T20 internationals till date.
In his second Ranji Trophy fixture between Punjab and Tamil Nadu, Ward was struck on the head when Punjab's Barinder Sran smashed a full delivery from DT Chandrasekhar. He suffered a mild concussion but his condition was stable as he was immediately rushed to a hospital.
Consequently, the Australia walked towards the mark at the non strikers and with a helmet on his head in the 4th ODI between Australia and India in 2016, thus becoming the first international umpire to do so.