In Brief

Alastair Cook 'cannot see the ball' in new cricket helmet

England captain struggling with new safety regulations as he bears down on 10,000 run milestone

With cricketer Alastair Cook just 36 runs away from 10,000 test runs, it is tempting to suggest he could reach the milestone with his eyes closed.

But that may be what the England captain ends up doing as he struggles with his new batting helmet.

There was a whiff of controversy at the start of the season when Cook went out to bat in an old-style lid that did not comply new safety guidelines, which narrow the gap between grille and peak so a ball cannot pass through it.

The Essex player was eventually forced to adopt the new headgear and has since made two centuries. But, as The Times reports, he "still feels that his vision is compromised by the new model, depriving him of a split-second of reaction time that could prove more costly at international level".

The rules governing helmet design were changed after players, including Nottinghamshire's Stuart Broad, were hurt by balls passing through the gap and striking them in the face. Former England wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter was forced to retire after once such incident.

However, Cook describes new regulations as "ironic" as they undermine his ability to identify the danger in the first place. There has also been widespread criticism from former players and observers.

"Are you safer with a helmet that is meant to be safer but you can't see the ball quite so well?" asked Cook. "It's not ideal, but we are trying to find a solution."

He told the Times that equipment-maker Gray-Nicolls was "working on a helmet that would pass the new test, but keep the gap a bit bigger".

Meanwhile, the England skipper has other problems to address, including the make-up of the team to face Sri Lanka in the first test this month now that James Taylor has been forced to retire with a heart problem.

"Three places in England's top five are far from certain with Alex Hales and Nick Compton under pressure after mixed results in South Africa, while the sudden retirement of James Taylor has vacated the number five position," says the Daily Telegraph.

It suggests that Ian Bell and Gary Ballance are vying for recalls to the side.

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