As people wax eloquently on the new Cadbury’s ad, showing gender roles reversed but wait …what did I miss !?!  As I rewind, watch, rewatch and compare with the 90’s ad, I can’t but cringe in a corner…

Some twenty-seven years back, Indians felt the freshness of the then Cadbury’s ad showing a woman waltzing her way to the cricket ground after her beau hit the fast bowler for a sixer over the ropes. The batsman, a known face in television ads in a green cap and facing a fast bowler. 

The new Cadbury’s ad features a batswoman facing a fast bowler, she hits the ball as usual over the ropes, much to the delight of her beau, this time a spectator in the stands. The batswoman, a pony-tailed young lady – no cap. 

World Cricket woke up to the importance of helmets rather late. For a game being played for a good over hundred years, the need for protective helmets was felt rather late inspite of several fatalities : from George Summers, Frederick Randon, Darryn Randall, quite a few players perished due to hits on the head. 

Though Patsy Hendren was one of the first to use a self-designed protective hat in the 1930s, helmets were first seen in action in the World Series Cricket in 1970’s. Dennis Amiss was the first player to consistently wear a helmet which was a customized motorcycle helmet.

Graham Yallop of Australia was the first to wear a protective helmet to a test match on 17 March 1978, when playing against West Indies at Bridgetown. Later Dennis Amiss of England popularized it in Test cricket. Helmets wearing while batting became more commonplace thereafter.

As of 2017, ICC never made any rules on wearing of helmet but left it to individual nations to work out their own regulations. As of 2016, in first class cricket, England requires all batsmen, wicketkeepers and fielders closer than 8 yards from the wicket to wear helmets. This is mandatory even when facing medium-pace and spin bowling. Australia requires helmets to be worn by batsmen if facing fast or medium-paced bowling; wicketkeepers if keeping up to the stumps; and all fielders in positions within 7 metres of the batsman, with the exception of any fielding position behind square of the wicket on the off side. New Zealand and India do not require batsmen to wear helmets.

God forbid, but the nations not having regulations may just be sitting on a ticking timebomb: not taking action till something untoward happens !

So, what am I driving at ? Well, you got it right : the new Cadbury’s ad doesn’t feature the batswoman in a helmet as much as the 90’s ad didn’t feature the batsman wearing one. Art is a reflection of the reality we live in. India doesn’t have regulations as to bats(wo)man wearing helmet possibly due to pressure from players. In the past, prominent batsmen have refused to wear the same and even said it affects their reflexes. From Sunny Gavaskar to West Indian Legend Vivian Richards, all played sans the helmet. 

But haven’t times changed ?

It would be welcoming to see admen like Piyush Pandey biting the bullet : reshoot the new Cadbury’s ad or digitally edit the new and old Cadbury ads to show both the batswoman (now) and batsman (then) wearing the helmet !

Safety is gender neutral. What’s good for the gander (batsman), is also good for the goose (batswoman) or vice-versa !

Can safety consciousness in the ad medium create the reverse effect ? Influence players and people in the establishment to start giving importance to safety and also the safety helmet !?! …Only time can tell !

Gender roles reversal is fine but then “safety first, always and every-time”. Doesn’t matter if its ads !

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