To determine whether the helmets currently used by cricket batsmen offer sufficient protection against impacts of a cricket ball, the impact absorption characteristics of six helmets were measured using the drop test at an impact velocity equivalent to a cricket ball with a release speed of 160 km x h(-1) (44.4 m x s(-1)). An accelerometer transducer attached to a 5.0 kg striker was dropped from a height of 3.14 m onto the batting helmets to measure the impact characteristics at the three different impact sites: right temple, forehead and back of the helmet. These data were further expressed as a percentage above (-) or below (+) the recommended safety standard of 300 g. The results indicate that the force absorption characteristics of the helmets showed inter- and intra-helmet variations, with 14 of the 18 impact sites (66.7%) assessed meeting the recommended safety standards. Helmets 1, 2 and 4 succeeded in meeting the safety standards at all impact sites; helmets 5 and 6 both failed at the back and forehead, while helmet 3 failed at all impact sites. These differences were due to the structure and composition of the inner protective layer of the helmets. The helmets that succeeded in meeting the standards were made with a moulded polystyrene insert, a heat-formed ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) insert, or EVA with a relatively high density that allows a minimal amount of movement of the helmet at ball impact.