Ellis wants NZC ‘proactive’ over player safety after headed-six incident

Canterbury allrounder Andrew Ellis wants New Zealand Cricket to be “proactive” in offering protective gear to players, in light of the bizarre incident in which he was hit on the head in his follow-through by a ball that then pinged away for a six.

Ellis was bowling his first over in the third preliminary final of the Ford Trophy when Auckland batsman Jeet Raval’s lofted drive struck him on the head before soaring across the ropes.

“I’m fine, there was no need to bounce back, it was business as usual,” Ellis told stuff.co.nz. “[But] I think it’s a wider discussion for New Zealand Cricket and the Players Association to be proactive about things.”

He said he “couldn’t believe it went for six” and was more frustrated about conceding the boundary than about the blow. According to stuff.co.nz, the ball had gone about 70 metres after deflecting off his head at Colin Maiden Park.

“Obviously, with a head knock, the physio has to come out and go through the concussion tests. He asked me the questions and I was able to give the right answers and carried on,” the Canterbury captain said.

He continued bowling even after the incident, picking two wickets for 52 runs off seven overs.

Last December, Otago fast bowler Warren Barnes had trialled protective headgear during a Super Smash T20 match. The headgear was designed by Barnes and Otago coach Rob Walter, to protect him from injury due to his unique follow-through (head goes down in his follow through, meaning his eyes are off the ball after release).

Nottinghamshire seamer Luke Fletcher was struck on the head by a ball on his follow-through during a NatWest T20 Blast game against Birmingham last July. Fletcher was concussed but did not lose consciousness, and play was suspended for half-an-hour while he received treatment.

Ellis said he might consider innovative gear this season but wants NZC to take the bigger step. “For guys like me who tend to bowl at the death and try to bowl yorkers, it’s probably a prudent move. It’s better to try and be a little innovative here, and be the world leader around this issue.”

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