Power hitting in cricket is developing at a great speed. It’s exciting to watch but the pace of the game means that players and officials need to be more aware of their protection. Umpires are also at risk and they are starting to take action.
What is the Cricket Umpire Shield?
The umpire shield can refer to any type of device that the officials will use to protect themselves from the ball. In the main, the term relates more specifically to an invention by the Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford.
Arm Guards and Helmets for the Umpire
Bruce Oxenford is the most famous umpire to use the shield which is placed over his forearm. If a ball is struck towards him, he can raise it in front of his face.
Other umpires have worn helmets or reinforced face masks, such as those that are worn in baseball. Gerard Abood has famously worn a helmet in Australia’s Big Bash League.
What is It Made Of?
Known colloquially as the ‘Ox Block’, the arm shield used by Bruce Oxenford is made from polycarbonate plastic. It’s actually bulletproof so it should certainly be able to withstand the pace of a cricket ball being hit back from 22 yards.
Do Umpires Get Injured in Cricket?
It is certainly possible for an umpire to get injured and that’s why many are looking at these protective devices. When standing at the bowler’s end, the ball can be struck back fiercely by the batsman, leaving them little time to get out of the way.
Bruce Oxenford actually developed his own device following the tragic death of an umpire in Israel in 2014.
Cricket Umpire FAQ
Do Cricket Umpires Wear Protective Gear?
Not all umpires wear protective gear and most will officiate without any form of protection. However, we’ve seen that Bruce Oxenford and Gerard Abood are among the few who are using this form of equipment.
What Hats do Cricket Umpires Wear?
Most umpires wear some form of hat but it’s usually not a form of protective headwear. Sun hats and caps are the more likely items seen around the circuit.
However, as we have seen in isolated cases, some are now wearing protective helmets to guard against injury.
Are Cricket Umpires Allowed to Use Protective Equipment?
All cricket umpires are allowed to use protective equipment but it should not affect their ability to see the game and uphold its laws. The use of helmets may affect that vision and this is the most important point to note here.