Batsmen facing a short-pitched barrage decided to take matters into the their own hands and sought ways to protect their heads.
England’s Dennis Amiss, who had struggled against Australia’s celebrated fast-bowling duo of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson during the 1974/75 Ashes, was a pioneer of the batting helmet.
“I went to a motorcycle helmet manufacturer, and he came up with something lighter than the fibreglass motorcycle helmets around in those days,” Amiss told the Daily Telegraph.
“The problem was that it covered your ears, making it difficult to hear.”
It was superseded by the forerunner of the ‘cap’-design helmet which is now commonplace, with plastic visors giving way to metal grilles.
Former England captain Michael Atherton, an opening batsman, wrote in Wednesday’s edition of The Times: “Maybe helmets had made us a little complacent, then. Certainly, they have changed the game beyond all recognition.”
Atherton added that whereas in the pre-helmet era batsmen generally hooked cautiously and infrequently off the back foot, helmet-wearing players such as Australia’s Matthew Hayden were emboldened to hook off the front foot, a potentially riskier option.
Yet Vivian Richards, one of cricket’s greatest batsman, bucked the trend by hooking some of the fastest bowlers the game has known during the 1970s and 1980s with nothing more than a West Indies cap on his head.
“That you should cover yourself in a suit of armour, to make yourself brave, or to enable you to hook — when you never hooked in your life — just because you’ve got a helmet on. That’s rubbish,” Richard