Cricketers are known to customise their headgear, often out of necessity. During UP Warriorz’s WPL 2023 match against the Gujarat Giants, Alyssa Healy strode out in a uniquely designed floppy hat.

While cricket caps can be ‘continuous’, some of them come with a buckle that one can use to tighten the cap. That automatically creates a hole, which makes it convenient for cricketers with a ponytail.

The floppy hat comes with no such option. To counter this shortcoming, UP Warriorz captain Healy came up with a novel idea. Ahead of the match against the Giants, she cut a hole at the back of her hat to let her ponytail peek through. She also got the “seal of approval” from teammate Lauren Bell.

The Gujarat cricketers obviously had a go, but Healy was too seasoned to be fazed by all that. The Warriorz chased down 179 to qualify for the Playoffs, eliminating the Giants from the hunt at the same time.

When Murali Kartik asked her about it at the post-match presentation, Healy pointed out that “cricket’s not just for men” before explaining why she chose to create the ‘pony hole’ in her hat. Whether she would patent it is something that needs to be seen.

There used to be universal headgear in cricket’s early days. Fuller Pilch, the most prolific batter of the early 19th century, was recognisable in his top hat. However, by the end of that century, cricketers adopted to the cap or, in bright, sunny weather, the floppy hat, often with the team emblem.

As bowling became quicker and bouncers more rampant, improvised protective headgear arrived. The first helmet made its way into high-level cricket as late as in the 1970s, and have become lighter over time, and the fibreglass skullcap hung around for a while.

The transparent visor has since been replaced by the grille, and cricketers sometimes wear a bandana inside the helmet. Baseball helmets have arrived in cricket as well. Healy’s innovation now added a dimension to this assortment.