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Leading cricket umpire and lawyer Gerard Abood thrives on the intensity of the game. DOMINIC ROLFE reports.

When Gerard Abood donned his helmet and walked out to the wicket for the start of the T20 Big Bash cricket match between the Melbourne Renegades and the Perth Scorchers at the end of last year, he raised a few eyebrows. Abood wasn’t batting and he wasn’t fielding. He was officiating and that night he became the first Australian umpire to wear a helmet in the Big Bash League.

“T20 cricket is different in that the guys just come out and whack the ball,” says Abood, who is a solicitor with ACL Lawyers in North Rocks. “I’ve had a few really close calls, and one of our umpires, John Ward, was hit in the head by a ball while on exchange in India earlier in December. He ended up in hospital for three days with concussion. We’re all very mindful of what went on with Phil Hughes [who died after being struck while batting at the Sydney Cricket Ground in November 2014], so I rang Cricket Australia before Christmas and said, ‘I’ll wear a helmet’.”

Two weeks later, Abood and Ward made history as the first pair of umpires to wear helmets in a game of cricket.

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