THE AVAILABILITY OF PROTECTIVE GEAR
Before the arrival of helmets and the assortment of protective pads, cricketers had little more than skill and instinct to rely on while facing dangerous bowlers. It was a life-and-death situation. In the 1962 Barbados Test, India captain Nari Contractor’s skull was fractured by Charlie Griffith’s bouncer. Contractor was comatose six days. He recovered but did not play Tests again. Such events made the invention of protective equipment necessary.
This is why we marvel at players of those times. Sunil Gavaskar made over 10,000 Test runs without a helmet. And he scored them against some of the most feared fast bowlers of all time: Holding, Marshall, Roberts, Imran and many more. Batsmen had courage then. They have chest pads and visors now. We’re not advocating blood-sport but merely praising the courageous heroes of yore.