Australian Umpire Bruce Oxenford has become famous for introducing a revolutionary protective gear for the umpires. He used an arm protector during a game between Gujarat Lions and Royal Challengers Bangalore back in IPL 2016. The arm protector was in the shape of a semi-circle at the wrist of Bruce Oxenford and extended into a form of a pipe along his forearm.
The arm protector was made of hard, translucent fiber-plastic. As it happens, this was not the first time that this arm protector was used. In fact, Bruce Oxenford has already made use of the same equipment during the warm-up game between Australia and West Indies before the T20 World Cup same year as well. Apparently, he uses the equipment for protecting his hand and arm.
Which brings us to the question why the need for this arm protector has come up? Well, as it happens; the advent of T20 cricket has brought a revolution to the game of cricket. Bowlers are bowling shorter spells while batsmen are playing with shorter boundaries. The emphasis is shifting from technique to the impact that an individual player can have during a match. This has transformed the dynamics of the game; it has become fast-paced and with speed comes the risk of injury.
The equipment being used during the game has also transformed. The bats are broader and better now while the wickets have incorporated one or another form of the technology. Have you all seen them light up when the ball runs through them? The experiments with the equipment and the technology being used in a cricket game are ongoing, but what has remained constant? That’s right; the umpire.
Batsmen are focused on hitting the ball out of the park and shooting it straight over the bowler is the perfect place to aim. This makes things quite dangerous for the umpire that is standing at the wicket and lacks the gear that players use to guard themselves. While we trust the ICC to come up with a solution; Bruce Oxenford didn’t want to take any chances and relied on this arm protector.