The International Cricket Council (ICC) warned the Pakistan cricket team over wearing smartwatches in the recently concluded first Test match against England at the prestigious Lord’s venue.
As per the ICC rules and guidelines, players and match officials are not permitted to have any communication devices (barring few exceptions) during the time of play. Smart watches are able to receive communication and connect to the internet or to bluetooth. As per its guidelines, the ICC effectively treats a smartwatch as a phone.
“Apple watches in any way connected to a phone/Wi Fi or in any way capable of receiving comms such as messages, are not allowed. In effect, it is considered a phone unless ‘disabled’ and just a watch,” said ICC spokesperson to a leading cricket website.
Mobile phones can be used in the dressing rooms but some of the Pakistan players were seen wearing smart watches while fielding on the first day of the first Test match at the Lord’s. If a player wants to wear one, the connectivity must be disabled.
Pakistan pace bowler Hasan Ali confirmed that a representative of International Cricket Council had visited the Pakistan dressing room at the close of play on day-one of the first Test on Thursday (May 24).
“I didn’t know who was wearing them but yes, the ICC anti-corruption officer came to speak to us and they told us this is not allowed,” said Hasan Ali. “Next time nobody will wear them. I didn’t know earlier that anyone was wearing one.”
The video footage shows that two Pakistani star-batsmen Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq were wearing the smartwatches while fielding. However, it is unclear whether the watches were switched on or disabled (not connected to internet).
Mohammad Amir, who played in this Test match, was involved in spot-fixing scandal along with Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif at the same venue in 2010. The trio was then handed with a five-year ban from cricket by ICC.
However, no serious actions are being taken against the players who wore smart watches in the first Test as it ended with just a warning.
In dramatic circumstances, the team which struggled against Ireland in the latter’s maiden Test match has successfully defeated the strong England team at Lord’s in the first Test. Pakistan won the test by 9 wickets. With this victory, Visitors take 1 – 0 lead in the 2-match Test series. The second and final Test match of the series will be played at Headingly starting from 01st July.
** Photo credits to The Independent