EXCLUSIVE | Protective gear in Cricket - Past, present and what lies ahead
Cricket is one of the fastest-evolving games in the world. We have different leagues, formats, and styles of play being enforced at a rapid pace. The game may well be a completely different sport in a decade or two. There's one thing though that will continue to be part of the game moving forward - the protective gear.
Protection in cricket has drastically changed the way the game is played. Batters are no longer scared of pace or short-balls. Be it Maxwell's outrageous reverse sweep or Pant's reverse scoop to a fast bowler like Jofra Archer, the confidence of being guarded has brought out all the different shots in the book.
India TV spoke to Amit Desai, founder and director of Protech Sports & Safety Products pvt. Ltd, to gain a little insight into the world of protective gear in cricket, particularly helmets. Here are the excerpts from the interview.
What has been the evolution of Protective gear in the sport? How has that impacted the manufacturing process?
The protective helmet for cricket has evolved much in terms of safety levels of the shell and the biggest is for the grill. The shell safety has been mainly on the inside of the helmet for better concussion management. The grill has completely evolved with the new British Standards where the cannonball test requires the grill to be extremely robust in not allowing the ball to go through. This evolution has also made the manufacturing process more stringent in quality controls and assembly processes.
Do you get special requests from players for personal needs?
All the time, but with the new BS standards, it is almost impossible to make any changes in the helmet structure, except for some foam additions inside the helmet to bring personalised comfort to top players.
How do you see this industry changing and expanding in the future?
The cricket business is growing in some new countries like the US. They are actively promoting cricket as a mainstream sport. However, till it grows into a major worldwide recognised sport, this will remain a very small niche market, in terms of the number of players, compared to a lot of other mass-market sports like football, baseball, etc.
With the sport getting more advanced, have you ever thought of innovating?
We are in process of developing a helmet which will help in reducing concussions and help manage higher levels of impacts and also multiple impacts at similar points. We have tied up with a US-based company for the technology for this. Some of the initial test results are quite promising.
Dinesh Karthik's helmet was a bit different during the IPL. Do players prefer to change up their gear?
This helmet has been in the market for a long time, and Dinesh Karthik has been using it in IPL games for approximately the last 5 years.
We had developed many different types of shapes in the past but cricket being an extremely traditional game, the cricketers do not like too much change in terms of designs from a traditional cricket cap shape.
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