February 28, 2006 Cricket is one of the oldest and most original of all modern sports, originating somewhere between 700 and 900 years ago in England, with international competition beginning a century ago and almost no major rule changes since. As incredible as it may seem to the uninitiated in this most beguiling of contests, each international match lasts 30 hours over five days and often ends without a result, with each international series comprising five such matches (150 hours) also frequently ending without a clear winner. Played with a small, very hard ball which is bowled (thrown with a straight arm), at up to 160 km/h, it is illustrative of the staid mindset afflicting the governing body of the sport that helmets for the human being in the firing line were not introduced until 30 years ago despite a history of horrendous injury. Like nearly everything else in a sport afflicted by stubborn traditionalism, the design of the cricket helmet has trailed well behind the technologies available and with mid-2004 university tests showing that helmets can delay a batsman’s reactions by up to a quarter of a second, you’d think that we might have seen a rethink of cricket helmet design since then, but we haven’t noticed one. Inspired by those tests, designer Ravinder Sembi has reengineered the cricket helmet with a view to overcoming this fundamental problem.
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