Wicket Keeping Pads Buyers' Guide

CHOOSING THE RIGHT WICKET KEEPING PADS

Cricket wicket keeping pads/leg guards are considered an absolute essential piece of protective gear for wicketkeepers of all levels. The core traits to analyse when buying cricket wicket keeping pads are: protection, weight and comfort.

WICKET KEEPING PAD FEATURES

The typical wicket keeping pad is broken down into seven different features. The largest surface area of the cricket wicket keeping pad, which is segmented by various vertical sections to allow the pad to wrap around the shin, is known as the face. The knee roll not only offers formidable protection to the knee joint, it also permits the ability for the pad to flex and bend in unison with the rest of the leg. The knee role is usually divided into horizontal sections and consists of padding material, although some modern wicket keeping pads have removed this feature altogether.

Protecting the lower thigh and situated above the knee role is the top hat, which offers limited protection due to the amount of muscle that protects the femur bone. Additional wrap-around protection is provided by the wings on the outside of the wicketkeeper’s pad, while the instep serves to protect the lower shin and ankle, and is customarily reinforced to prevent wear and tear with the ground. Cushioned Velcro straps have superseded leather straps and metal buckles in recent years, which has allowed greater comfort levels and a lighter design to nullify additional fatigue associated with a weighty profile. Some top-level wicketkeepers incorporate additional bolsters to provide exceptional impact protection from very high bowling speeds, which are also designed to promote enhanced air flow and cleanliness.

WICKET KEEPING PAD MATERIALS

PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) is a synthetic plastic that is seen as a cheaper, lighter and more durable alternative to leather, although difficulty in recycling has seen a decrease in its utilisation, as PU (Polyurethane) has grown in popularity. PU offers similar qualities but greater recycling options, while many of the shock-absorbing high density foams have used PU. HD foams are an obvious choice for cricket pads due to their exceptionally low weight and ability to provide excellent shock absorption. Remarkably, some contemporary cricket wicket keeping pads are almost exclusively constructed from HD foam. The use of cane has been deployed in cricket batting pads and wicketkeepers’ pads throughout cricket history but is now marginalised to lower-end products, while fibre glass is sometimes added to provide greater stiffness. Remnants from the cotton industry are also used as a low-cost means of impact protection.

WICKET KEEPING PAD BUYING DECISIONS

Like batting pads, the more expensive wicket keeping pads tend to offer greater impact protection and shock absorption levels, will promote greater movability and stamina due to a lighter specification, and will offer enhanced ventilation. The use of softer materials to boost comfort levels are also likely to be deployed, although, depending on the material used, this will not necessary increase durability. High-end wicket keeping pads may also include washable/removable inserts and greater attention to aesthetics.

WICKET KEEPING PAD MAINTENANCE

PVC and PU faces can be easily wiped clean with a damp cloth. After intense sweating on a hot day, leave your pads in a warm, ventilated place to dry.