ICC’s anti-corruption unit (ACU) has reportedly spoken to umpire Richard Kettleborough after he entered the field for the ongoing Test between England and Pakistan wearing a smartwatch. He is one of the umpires officiating the game along with Michael Gough. Use of any transmitting devices is prohibited on the cricket field.
Richard Kettleborough was seen wearing the smartwatch during the first session of the match on Friday. According to ESPNcricinfo, the official realised his mistake soon and took off the watch. Following the protocol, he also reported the incident to the ACU. He has not been seen wearing it after lunch on the first day.
The report further stated that ACU considered the incident a minor violation of the regulations. The authorities are unlikely to take action against the umpire although they spoke to him and reminded him of his obligations under the Player and Match Officials Area Regulations (PMOA).
In a bid to curb corruption from the game, ICC has made it mandatory for the players and officials to hand over their phones (and any other transmitting devices) to anti-corruption officials ahead of the start of play. They are then locked away and returned to them shortly after stumps. The ICC also has the power to confiscate devices and download all material from them in order to monitor recent activity, but have chosen not to do so on this occasion.
Extravagant ball movement but a frustrating day for the lads 👇#ENGvPAK
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 14, 2020
Not the first time:
An individual receiving a warning from the ACU for wearing smartwatch on the cricket field is not new. A couple of years ago, Pakistan players had also suffered the same fate when they were seen wearing Apple Smartwatches on the field during the 2018 Lord’s Test against England. On that occasion too, the ACU had considered it a minor violation.
Earlier this year, the ECB tightened up its anti-corruption guidelines by banning players from wearing smartwatches on the field of play in all fixtures, on account of the growth of live-streaming services in county cricket.