Cricket inspires passion.
We’ll do anything to look the part on a cricket field, to belong and to feel part of the ‘tribe’ of cricketers.
And nowhere is this more a point of pain than the cricket helmet.
“Viv Richards didn’t need one.”
“It only restricts you.”
“Its health and safety gone mad.”
“They are only for matches, why wear one in the nets?”
These are some of the reasons I hear club cricketers tell me why they are not wearing a lid when facing a bowler or a machine.
Often I’ll arrive at a net session with under-14 or -16 players and the super keen boys are already netting without a helmet on (or sometimes without gloves and pads). I insist on proper equipment. They huff and puff and eventually put the gear on.
Many will say this is ‘nannying’ gone too far.
They stress nobody needs to wear a helmet until they are playing at a high enough level. To insist a 13 year old facing a medium paced 12 year old should wear one is crazy. He’s not going to bowl a bouncer is he?
But why risk it?
Anyone can top edge a ball into their face. It happened to a senior player in my team last season.
A fractured cheekbone, a Saturday afternoon at the hospital and 4 weeks off playing soon saw him invest in a helmet.
Plus, a helmet helps you feel secure as a batsman. You can go through with your shots with confidence.
Yes, part of the beauty of cricket is the toughness you need to face the fear of that little hard ball.
But how can you appreciate that beauty your career is over?
Whenever you feel like pulling a stunt off, just ask yourself that is the excitement of playing without helmet worth it?
When it can keep you away from playing the game you love it’s always better safe than injured.
image credit: scaglifr