ICC’s anti-corruption unit (ACU) has spoken to Richard Kettleborough, who is one of the on-field umpires in the ongoing second Test between England and Pakistan, after he entered the field wearing a smartwatch.
The match official was seen wearing the smartwatch during the first session of the match on Friday. According to ESPNcricinfo, Richard Kettleborough did not take long to realise his mistake and was quick to take off the watch. 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 an attempt to curb the corruption in the game, the governing body of the game 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.
When Pakistan players were warned for wearing smartwatch:
This is not the first time an individual has been warned for wearing smartwatch while being on the field. During the 2018 Lord’s Test, Pakistan’s players were spoken to by officials after they committed the same mistake. 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.