Richard Kettleborough, one of the two on-field umpires in current England – Pakistan Second Test, which is being played at Old Trafford in Manchester, has been warned after taking to the field wearing a smartwatch.
He was spotted wearing it during the first session of the match, but then realised his own mistake, and reported it to ICC officials subsequently. Kettleborough was spoken to by members of their anti-corruption unit and reminded of his responsibilities, but no further action will be taken.
The use of such devices on the field has been banned as part of a raft of measures introduced to try and combat corruption and illegal activities in first-class cricket. Players and match officials are meant to hand in their mobile phones, smartwatches, and other electronic transmitting devices before the start of play to anti-corruption officials, who will then securely lock them away.
They are then returned to the individuals concerned once play has finished for the day.
There is no suspicion in this case that Kettleborough has been guilty of anything than an act of forgetfulness.
Because of the current restrictions on international travel and measures taken to minimise the risk of transmission of the coronavirus, the ICC has recently relaxed the rules requiring neutral umpires to stand in test matches.
That means that both the on-field umpires in the current match are English, with Richard Illingworth at the other end. The pair were also the on-field umpires for the first test, again played in Manchester, and were generally praised for the accuracy and impartiality of their decision-making.
This is by no means the first such incident.
Several Pakistan players took to the field wearing smartwatches during a test against England at Lords two years ago. Their explanation was that they were being used to track fitness and had been disabled were accepted, but they were still made to remove them.