Shahid Afridi’s ‘dangerous’ helmet in PSL game brings batsman’s safety into question

Shahid Afridi was and still remains a mercurial cricketer. The Pakistani all-rounder had the ability to single-handedly turn around the course of the game with both the bat and the ball. Even though he has retired from international cricket, Afridi still plays T20 cricket in various leagues all over the world where he continues to defy what is normal in the game.

One such incident occurred during the recent Pakistan Super League Playoff game between Multan Sultans and Karachi Kings where Afridi came out to bat wearing a very unusual helmet.

Coming out to bat for the Multan Sultans at the number 7 spot, Afridi wore a helmet which was without its upper grill. Although Afridi was dismissed just for 12, the helmet became a hot topic of debate with both fans and commentators agreeing that it could be potentially dangerous.

The 40-year-old’s helmet had enough space for the ball to easily go through in case he missed a short-pitched delivery. The opposition had rapid pacers such as Mohammad Amir and Waqas Maqsood which could have proved hazardous for Afridi.

While the experts in the cricketing domain call for more safety for the batsman with some even saying that even the on-field umpires should wear helmets, the volatile Afridi has gone in the opposition direction.

Recently, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar had urged the ICC to make the helmet compulsory for all the batsmen – even when they were facing the spinners. Sachin’s argument had come in the middle of the recently concluded IPL 2020 , when during a game, Mumbai’s Dhawal Kulkarni was hit on the head after a throw from the deep. Fortunately, Kulkarni was wearing a helmet at that point and Tendulkar used the incident to lay a very valid point. The video of that incident could be seen here.

Several such dangerous incidents have occurred on the field with the unfortunate death of Aussie cricketer Phil Hughes on the pitch being the most prominent example. While it is high time that ICC makes the helmets mandatory, Afridi’s recent ‘innovation’ also calls for guidelines from the ICC regarding the design of the helmet.

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Sagar Biswas

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