Umpire Oxenford introduces the 'shield'

The latest in officials' safety equipment unveiled during Australia-Windies warm-up

Umpire Bruce Oxenford has debuted the latest innovation in umpire safety in Australia's World T20 warm-up: a forearm shield.

Australian umpire Oxenford wore the protective equipment at Eden Gardens on Sunday on his left arm as the International Cricket Council and global boards continue to explore new ways to protect standing officials in T20 cricket.

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Looked to be made of clear Perspex, the shield is strapped to Oxenford's non-dominant signalling arm, and can be used to parry and block shots fired back in the umpire's direction.

It's the latest innovation in the area after Australian umpire John Ward was hospitalised when he was struck in the head umpiring a match in India this summer.

That incident led to fellow Australian Gerard Abood wearing a helmet during the KFC Big Bash League, and when Ward returned to duty, he also donned the headwear.

The ICC have since followed suit, supplying all umpires at the World T20 with helmets, though they're not obligated to wear them. 

"We've seen some umpires being hit in recent times and it's becoming quite dangerous, certainly in T20 and one-day cricket especially," umpire Richard Kettleborough told shortly after he was struck on the leg during Australia's home ODI series with India in January. 

"I know for the T20 World Cup we're all going to be issued helmets. We're not obliged to wear them, it's totally up to us, but it's certainly something I'll be taking on board and thinking about.

"Our safety, as with the players, is paramount. The non-strikers are in danger too, as is the bowler in his follow-through, there's no doubt about that.

"It's only a matter of time before someone gets hit quite badly."

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