Helmets? Australian cricket legend Chappell left outraged by protection idea for bowlers

Australian cricketing legend Ian Chappell says giving fast bowlers helmets won’t address concerns over them being injured by balls inadvertently hit back at them.

Development of a helmet for fast bowlers has been commissioned by Cricket Australia, after a number of incidents involving bowlers being struck.

It is hoped prototypes of the helmet will be ready by this summer.

Chappell though, believes giving bowlers the option of a helmet is the wrong way to tackle the problem.

Instead, the former Test captain is arguing that modern bats are the real reason bowlers have been injured.

“In baseball they know at what speed the ball leaves the bat. That technology could also be applied to cricket,” Chappell said in an interview for Wide World of Sports.

“If you know what speed the ball is leaving the bat at, you know how much time the bowler has to react.

“The tests would tell you that at the moment they haven’t got enough time to react if the ball comes straight back at them.

New Zealand-based bowler Warren Barnes, pictured trialling a bowling helmet in 2017.
Warren Barnes of Otago bowls during the Twenty20 Supersmash match between Otago and Canterbury on December 26, 2017 in Alexandra, New Zealand. (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)

“I think they’ve got to use that technology to change the bats, to give the bowlers, and the umpires, time to protect themselves, rather than trying to put helmets on bowlers.”

Chappell also went on to argue that helmets would likely be an unpopular solution among bowlers.

He drew some comparison to baseball, where pitchers are permitted to wear helmets but rarely do, due to the design of said helmets not protecting the most vulnerable areas.

Add in the fact that cricketers take a run-up before bowling a ball, and that the weight of the helmet might affect the bowler’s pace and accuracy, and Chappell was well and truly off the idea.

“I would have thought if you’re running in with a helmet on for 25 overs a day, it’s going to take a bit of getting used to, and the amount of sweating would be a problem,” Chappell said.

“In the end I’m wondering what impact it would have on a pace bowler? Would it slow him down?

“They’re coming at it from the wrong end, they’ve got to sort the bats out rather than find helmets for bowlers.

“I doubt it will happen.”

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