mid-day editorial: Umpires, use your head and wear a helmet

Updated: Dec 13, 2016, 07:45 IST | mid-day correspondent

The obvious takeaways from the England vs India Test match which concluded yesterday in the city, where England capitulated to an innings-and-36-run defeat, is all the chatter about whether India can become the best Test team

The obvious takeaways from the England vs India Test match which concluded yesterday in the city, where England capitulated to an innings-and-36-run defeat, is all the chatter about whether India can become the best Test team.

What the cricket world and especially its honchos need to think about is umpire Paul Reiffel's narrow escape after being hit by a ball. Reiffel suffered a concussion and underwent precautionary tests which were all clear, after Bhuvneshwar Kumar's throw back to Cheteshwar Pujara struck Reiffel on the back of his neck. The throw lacked power — had it been flat, fast and harder, it may have proved fatal.

It is time for umpires to wear helmets on the field. There have been attempts to make the game safer for players by introducing guards and helmets. The umpires should also have a specially designed helmet, to protect them. Arguments like 'all sport has an element of risk', do not hold water. When one can mitigate those risks, why not do so?

Today, cricket has become tremendously fast; even the Test format has fed off the shorter version. Players go all out in every format of the game. So often, we see umpires ducking quickly or moving away from a hard shot. They need to be very quick, but, they may not be fast enough at times.

Umpires have died on the cricket field, and yet, we do not see the rule of helmets for all being implemented. It is time the umpiring world body impresses upon the International Cricket Council to make this mandatory. We have seen instances of umpires sheathing themselves in protective headgear, but these have been too few and far between. Umpires too need to take responsibility for their lives. Rather than wait for a rule, why not exercise the helmet option? Ump, easy lies the head that wear the helmet.

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