Twitter Reaction: Umpire John Ward officiates with a helmet in the Aus-Ind 4th ODI

Twitter Reaction: Umpire John Ward officiates with a helmet in the Aus-Ind 4th ODI

Umpire John Ward today wore a helmet while officiating in the 4th ODI between Australia and India at the Manuka Oval, Canberra. It was for the first time in an international match that an umpire walked out wearing a helmet. Incidentally, the 53-year-old Ward was the one who was hit on the head while officiating in a Ranji Trophy match between Tamil Nadu and Punjab in Dindigul in December 2015. Certainly that might be the reason why he took the decision.

Umpires safety has also become an issue in cricket these days due the chasing playing environment. Recently in Bengaluru, during the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament, Indian umpire Paschim Pathak wore helmet for Kerala-Railways match at Alur ground. More umpires might follow Ward and walk out wearing helmets.

Ward’s decision got some justification in the same match as his colleague Richard Kettleborough of England was hit on his right leg by a straight drive from opener Aaron Finch. Later, after 17 overs, Kettleborough left the field due to the injury. TV umpire Paul Wilson of Australia replaced him on the field.

Last year, former Australian umpire Simon Taufel had said on-field match officials might use helmets in the future.

“I wouldn’t’ be surprised in the future, if it continues the way it’s going, where umpires start looking at that (wearing helmets), but that’s an individual call they have to make. The nets are the most dangerous places for us now … (Virender) Sehwag, Gayle, Warner – they’re probably some of the biggest hitters of the ball and they just go into the nets to actually practice those shots.” Taufel was quoted as saying in New Zealand media in March 2015.