Warren Barnes of Otago bowls wearing a specially designed helmet

Barnes had worn the headgear just once before Saturday's game at Seddon Park against the Knights.

Warren Barnes
Warren Barnes bowls while wearing a helmet. (Photo Source:

Gone are the days when only batsmen needed protective gears. Pads, arm-guards, helmets, etc. were the terms reserved only from a batsman’s perspective gear. While Gerard Abood became the first umpire to wear a helmet, Warren Barnes has become the first bowler to do so! Yes, you read that right. Otago’s Warren Barnes wore a protective helmet/visor while bowling in Saturday’s Twenty20 match in Hamilton.

Barnes the trend-setter

He felt that his bowling action was vulnerable as his head goes down immediately after the delivery. A smashing straight drive may put his life in danger. Modern day batsmen tend to hit the ball much harder than their traditional counterparts.


A straight shot slapped down the ground by Chris Gayle or MS Dhoni can literally crack your skull if you are 5-10 yards away from the bat. This has prompted the players to remain alert on the field at all times. Fielding positions like silly point, slips, short leg and short covers are difficult positions for fielders especially with the ball coming hard with minus reaction time.

Barnes had worn the headgear just once before Saturday’s game at Seddon Park against the Knights. He bowled three overs and returned with figures of 3/33. The protective gear didn’t seem to affect his performance as the other bowlers were hit to all parts of the ground, while Nelson chipped in with three wickets. The Knights went on to win the game quite easily as the Volts were bowled out for 106 in the 15th over.

The Phil Hughes incident shocked the cricket world. There were no global standards issued for helmets. In recent times, we can see an extra layer of protection added at the back of the helmet to ensure the back of the head isn’t exposed either.

Questions have been raised as to whether the batsmen are the only on-field players prone to injuries. Umpires are also not safe especially with the introduction of T20 cricket. After umpires, its now turn for the bowlers to wear protective gears while bowling.

In the future, will we see helmets being distributed outside the stadium to spectators for their safety against monstrous hits by the batsmen?

Watch the video of Warren Barnes bowling with a helmet on: