While wearing headgear during batting and even close-in fielding has become a regularity in modern cricket, bowlers wearing a protective headgear is an extremely rare sight. However, Otago pacer Warren Barnes created the rare spectacle by wearing a headgear in a Super Smash T20 match in New Zealand.
Barnes’ headgear, which is actually a part helmet and a part face-mask, has been designed by Otago head coach Rob Walter in order to protect the bowler from injury due to his unique follow-through. While bowling, Barnes' head goes down in his follow through, which means his eyes are off the ball after release and that makes him vulnerable to be affected by the straight drives hit back by the batsman. In order to avoid that kind of situation, Walter and Barnes combined to design the headgear, which Barnes wore during the Twenty20 clash against Northern Districts.
With the headgear, Barnes is looking to avoid the kind of injury that Nottinghamshire bowler Luke Fletcher suffered during a Natwest T20 Blast match earlier this year. Fletcher was struck on the head in his follow-through by a ferocious straight hit from Birmingham batsman Sam Hain. Fletcher was ruled out for the remainder of the season due to that and earlier this month was cleared to resume full training.
Barnes is one of the quickest bowlers on the New Zealand domestic scene and has proven to be a handy asset in short-form cricket. If the former Auckland seamer can avoid injuries, which have plagued his career to date, he can be an important asset for the Kiwi national team in the future.