Gerard Abood, an Australian umpire has decided to take safety in hands first, thus becoming the first international umpire to wear a helmet, while officiating in the KFC Big Bash League in Australia.
Abood wore a batting Masuri Vision series black helmet, which is also adorned by majority of Australian players.
Abood said he had been giving thought on wearing head protection for some time as with the game has evolved, the bats getting bigger and players are getting stronger with each passing years. Moreover, the players are practicing specifically whacking balls as hard as they can and it's just coming off faster and faster. His decision to adore the helmet was also cemented after the fellow Australian official John Ward sustained a blow to the head while officiating in India's Ranji Trophy in December 2015.
"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", the umpire Abood said.
The umpire also added that he has escaped close shaves in the past and umpires are just 24 yards from the bat and if it comes back, there is not lot of time to move. He had discussed his decision with other umpires as well as players, who have also welcomed the move.
Importantly, during November 2014, umpire and former captain of Israel's national cricket team Hillel Awaskar unfortunately died after being hit by a ball during a match in the Israeli city of Ashdod.
Moreover, the Cricket Australia is currently working with the England and Wales Cricket Board and the International Cricket Council to design umpire-specific protective wear. Abood also said, he will continue wearing batsmen helmet until that is finalized.
Safety of umpires on-field is a growing concern and Australian umpire is satisfied that it is good that discussion is started and will keep the momentum moving forward with the development of umpire-specific protection.