Choosing A Cricket Helmet
Cricket helmets one could argue is the second most important piece of kit for the batter (The bat being the first of course). Protecting the face and brain of the player and being the only piece of equipment that you actually look through and actively see at all times when you bat with one on, you don't even see your cricket bat at all times.
So what is the job of a cricket helmet? well first and most importantly is to protect the decision-making factory the face/brain of the player, if this is compromised then this could have not only short-term pain but also long-term complications regarding efficient decision making and overall brain health.
Secondly whilst providing uncompromising protection but to also have great vision to allow the batter to see the ball without distraction.
This can only happen if the right fit of cricket helmet is chosen. Too loose and the helmet will move around during use impairing vision and impact from balls could have a worse affect due to the loose fitting creating enough space to rather than absorb the blow but more so create another layer to impact the head and rattle the brain.
Too tight and the grille ends up at eye level rather than looking through the gap again impairing vision and the helmet being too tight actually causing headaches due to the restriction. In some cases, the head not even fitting in the lid exposing vulnerable areas such as the jaw and back of the head.
So choosing a cricket helmet can be tricky but here are a few pointers to help guide you towards the correct lid.
Ever since the unfortunate Phile Hughes incident the standard of helmets have been revamped and the levels of protection have increased immensely. Nowa days all the reputable cricket helmets brands will come with some text saying "Meets the latest ICC / BS 7928:2013 standard" or something similar but the code "BS 7928:2013" is always the same. What this means is the helmet model has been tested to the latest British standards and proven to meet that latest safety standards.
What is a British Standard helmet? To improve helmet safety, the ICC worked with British sports protection experts and consequently it is the British Standard that has been updated and chosen to be the de facto international standard for helmet safety. The British Standard sets a higher all-round standard for helmet safety and its key benefits include:
- an enhanced test for projectile-facial contact that assesses for penetration of the ball through the faceguard and subsequent contact of the faceguard onto the face
- a separate test for men’s and junior sized balls
- a new test for improved protection of the temporal (side) region of the head
- a new test for improved occipital (rear) protection of the head
As mentioned before the cricket helmet fitting is important as an ill-fitting helmet can be dangerous. So, what you're looking for and considering when choosing a good helmet fit.
- Using the manufactures size guides as a starting point
- Your own head shape as some manufactures has different shaped lids (Shrey is more round, Masuri is more oval)
- The helmet should fit snuggly just above your eyebrows and the top of your head should be touching the top of the helmet lid.
- You should be able to feel the helmet all the way around your head firmly but comfortably.
- You should be able to see through the grille in your normal stance not having to adjust your head or eyes.
- When you move your head, the helmet should move with it without and delay as if it's just a part of your head.
- If you're buying online then to use and old helmet as a guide or use use to guide you to the correct size of helmet
(Pictured: The difference in lid shapes with Masuri being more oval vs Shrey being more round)
With helmets it's important to note the more you spend the better the protection and comfort but more importantly is if it has the "BS 7928:2013 standard" it is considered safe enough to use at any level so it's not that you need to spend more to meet the standard protection, but you should more so consider the level of cricket that you're playing at and if you need the $350 helmet or if the $110 one will be enough for you knowing you're safe either way.
Weight: Titanium vs Steel
And lastly is weight. Most helmets come in similar weights and difference in weight is not really noticeable, but the biggest difference is weight is for helmets with titanium grilles compared to steel grille helmets. Titanium grille cricket helmets usually tend to be the top end of helmets and you see almost all professionals using titanium grilled helmets because they tend to be 100 grams - 150 grams lighter than their still grills counterparts.
At the top level the lightness can make all the difference as the margins are finer at top level cricket but for the average cricketer won't make a huge difference but if you are a batter of the more finicky variety and really feels difference and is fussier and are willing to spend more than the titanium grilled cricket helmets would the preferred option.
Hopefully with this guide you'll have a bit more clarity next time you walk in store or shop online and it helps you get the best helmet. Because at the end of the day when you walk out to the crease you don't want to be feeling like your wearing any gear at all and that's our goal so you can be the best that you can be!