Gerard Abood said ' I'd rather put one on just before I get hit than just after © Getty Images (representational image)
Gerard Abood said he would rather put one (helmet) on just before he gets hit than just after it © Getty Images (representational image)

Gerard Abood is set to become the first Australian umpire to put on a helmet when he will chair the Big Bash League 2015-16 match between Melbourne Renegades and Perth Scorchers at Etihad Stadium.  In a conversation with Cricket Australia’s official website he said, “I’ve had close shaves in the past, a couple have been real tight and they weight on your mind. 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.” READ: Umpires to wear protective gear in First-Class matches in England

“As far as I’m concerned it’s 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 helluva lot of time to move.” Australian umpire John Ward sustained a blow while officiating in Ranji Trophy (India’s domestic circuit) previous month and is still recovering from it and Abood said that this incident made him think more seriously towards wearing a helmet, “That brought it into sharp focus for me. One of our top guys has been sconed and hurt quite badly. The cricket landscape has also changed in the past 12 months [since Phillip Hughes’ death] from ifs and buts to the fact that it can happen. It’s time for someone to wear one and have a look at it.” ALSO READ: Time umpires wear protective gear

“We looked at the possibility of a baseball-type mask or a dome helmet, but I think they press against the face too much. A batsman’s helmet is not completely foreign to most blokes. It may not be ideal but it’s certainly a good way to get the discussion started and keep the momentum moving forward with the development of umpire-specific protection. I think it’s a start, it will get the discussion happening and what I hope is everyone who is currently contemplating it will find it a bit easier to do once someone in the BBL has done it on television.”