Cricket Helmet Buyers' Guides

TIPS FOR BUYING A CRICKET HELMET

It is highly recommended that players of all levels purchase a cricket helmet to safeguard their head from the impact of a cricket ball. Since the turn of the new millennium it has been compulsory for all junior cricketers under the age of 18 to wear a cricket helmet whilst batting, standing up to the stumps as a wicket keeper or fielding within close proximity of a batsman.

Despite arriving on the cricket scene during the 1930s, cricket batting helmets were not widely adopted until the late-1970s, prompted in part by the lethal pace of great West Indian fast bowlers and Australia speed kings Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thompson. Now all professional cricketers – and even the vast majority of village-level cricketers, even if they don’t use it every week – consider a cricket helmet as an essential purchase.

CRICKET HELMET FEATURES

The shell of the cricket helmet is the most important component, serving to provide maximum impact protection and shock absorption to most parts of a batsman’s head. This is comprised of an outer layer, which acts as an initial shield, while the inner layer provides additional force absorption.

The grill is the part at the front which acts as a shield to the face whilst impacting minimally on a batsman’s vision. Traditionally, the grill has witnessed the use of many experimental materials but metal has become the modern choice, providing strength and stiffness.

Padding is located inside a cricket helmet to minimise the impact of a hard cricket ball and to provide a soft, comfortable and secure fit; batsmen are often subjected to sudden movements that could dislodge the helmet and temporarily impair your vision of the ball.

The chin strap provides further security, fastening the cricket helmet around your head and making sure that the cricket helmet maintains its relatively fixed position when the cricket ball has struck the grill. The chin guard delivers comfort whilst supplying additional shock absorption qualities in the event of impact.

CRICKET HELMET MATERIALS The shock absorption characteristics and the ability to mould into various shapes, as well as being light and affordable, makes ABS Thermoplastic ideal for cricket helmet shells. Fibreglass cricket helmet shells offer even greater strength and durability compared to ABS plastic, but it is also fairly heavy which could negatively impact on comfort and fatigue levels.

Carbon fibre (often combined with Kevlar) is usually the preferred material-of-choice for a cricket helmet shell but its expensive nature and less malleable profile makes it a less accessible option. However, carbon fibre is lighter than fibreglass and these types of helmets will be found on the international stage. Grills are customarily constructed from steel, which is strong, malleable and relatively inexpensive, whilst carbon steel can be formed and heat-treated to considerably boost strength. However, at Test match level you’ll find cricket helmet grills made from titanium because it provides the same strength as steel but is noticeably lighter – 45% lighter in fact – which puts considerably less pressure on the neck muscles during a long innings.

High density foam is an umbrella term for a number of materials with varying profiles. Materials like PU, Polyethylene and Polystyrene can be combined with blowing agents to create materials that can offer either great flexibility or formidable impact protection. HD foams are are very light (they are largely made of air) and provide good shock absorption levels, making them ideal for padding.

BUYING DECISIONS Chiefly, you’ll need to consider your budget and the typical bowling speeds of your opponents and teammates. As you progress up the cricket helmet ladder you will move from ABS Plastics to carbon fibre via fibreglass. You are also likely to witness increased comfort levels provided by a lighter profile and greater ventilation.

FITTING The cricket helmet should fit firmly on the player’s head with the chin strap fitted securely, and there should be no overt movement of the head inside the helmet.

MAINTENANCE Make sure you check meticulously after impact whether there is any structural damage – if there is, replace with official parts. If it is beyond repair, buy a new one immediately and borrow someone else’s in the meantime. You should store your cricket helmet in a cool, dry place to prevent the degrading of ABS Plastics.

RECOMMENDATION: We recommend you wear a cricket helmet against all types of bowlers. Fast bowlers pose an obvious threat but it is also very easy to misjudge a sweep shot to a spinner and top-edge the ball into your face. You may also be the unlucky one that your captain points to when opting for a short leg or silly point fieldsman!