Overview of Cricket Helmets
Cricket helmets are used for protection of the players in the game; as balls can travel at speeds more than 90mph, the risk of injury is high – cricket helmets work to prevent against this and are an essential piece of any cricket player’s equipment bag!
It is not a legal requirement for all players to wear a cricket helmet (although definitely a wise choice), but it is compulsory of junior players (those under 18) to wear one when fielding within 15 yards of the bat, batting and when standing up to the stumps as wicket keeper.
Different sized helmets are available for different types of players, ranging from small junior up to large senior helmets.
An approximate size guide for these can be found below (always check products for their specific size guides):
||Cricket Helmet Size
It is important that the helmet fits snugly to the head of the player and is securely fitted with the chin strap, which must fit ON the chin, not under it!
If there is any side-to-side or front-to-back movement of the head inside the helmet, this may mean it is too loose and the shock absorption is reduced.
A cricket helmet is made up of a number of different features; these are:
- Outer shell
- Chin Strap
These can be made from a variety of different materials depending on the manufacturer, but all must conform to British safety regulations for use in the sport.
Many prefer to wear a lighter cricket helmet, but it may be that a slightly heavier one offers more durability and longer-term protection. Lighter helmets are typically made from carbon fibre with a titanium grill, but there are other options available.
Outer Shell Materials
ABS Plastic – this is a lightweight thermoplastic that is easily moulded, light and cheap to manufacture, which is why it is seen often used in cricket helmets. It does offer good protection against shocks, but is not as durable or as strong as other materials such as fibreglass, which means it may not last as long.
Fibreglass – Fibreglass is stronger than ABS Plastic and more durable, making it a good alternative for the outer shell of a cricket helmet. It is, however, heavier than as such can compromise the comfort of the wearer, especially during a long game.
Carbon Fibre – this is often combined with Kevlar and used in the manufacture of cricket helmet shells as an alternative to ABS Plastic or Fibreglass. It is expensive to buy and does lead to costlier helmet choices – many test cricketers opt for carbon fibre helmets, however, as they are extremely durable and will withstand the rigours of a long cricket test.
High Density Foam – this has long been the preferred padding material for cricket helmets as it offers great shock absorption and flexibility, meaning it can be shaped to the contours of the human head. There are many different types of high density foam available; those with small bubbles close together are less flexible but stronger, whereas those with larger bubbles spaced apart are very flexible but offer less protection. As above, the padding used has to conform to the safety standards, but it is worth looking at the foam if you can, to get an idea of the make up.
Steel – a popular choice for the grill, steel is cheap, strong and easy to work with, leading to a lower cost helmet if used in conjunction with materials such as ABS Plastic. Carbon steel is also an option, although costlier; this is stronger than standard steel and can be heat treated so it is made even stronger.
Titanium – titanium offers high strength and is lighter than steel, so it is an ideal alternative, although can lead to a costlier helmet at RRP. The lighter material gives more comfort to players as it puts less pressure on the neck, so definitely worth considering if this type of helmet is in your price range! Test cricketers tend to favour helmets with titanium guards!
Chin Strap Materials
Nylon – This is the most common material used for chin straps as it is very strong and durable, and can withstand the pressure of being taut on the chin for an extended period. It is also relatively smooth, and as such is less likely to irritate players’ skin.
Cricket Helmet Maintenance
As with any piece of cricket or sports equipment, maintenance is essential to keep your helmet in top condition. If you are unlucky enough to suffer a hit on the helmet, you’ll need to thoroughly check for any damage, and if badly damaged, stop using it and buy a replacement.
In addition, you should regularly inspect the helmet for cracks or deformations, any snagging of the chin strap or loosening of fibres, and any loosening of the grill. If any parts need replacing, use official ones.
Cleaning the helmet is also a good idea; use a gentle soap or detergent and a damp cloth. Don’t use wire bristles as these can scratch the shell. Some helmets have a cloth cover; this can be wiped with a damp cloth or a small brush and mild soap/detergent.
In terms of storage, cricket helmets should be kept dry and preferably in a dark place when not in use, to prevent against sun fading and degradation (of ABS Plastics).
The three things cricket players want from a cricket helmet are:
Cost is also going to be a factor, as is their playing level – if they are a casual player, they are unlikely to spend as much as someone who plays the game regularly.