ICC crackdown on Pakistan smartwatches puts spotlight on Sunrisers' Siddarth Kaul and Ireland's Boyd Rankin

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Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer Siddharth Kaul wearing a smartwatch. Image: BCCI.

Pakistan were forced to give up wearing smartwatches after being ordered to do so by the ICC after the opening day’s play of the first Test against England at Lord’s.

Pakistan batsmen Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam were seen wearing smartwatches, which did not sit well with ICC’s anti-corruption unit. Even though there was no allegation of any wrongdoing, the message sent by the ICC was that a smartwatch can be used to communicate during a match.

An ICC spokesperson was quoted by ESPNcricinfo as saying: “Apple watches in any way connected to a phone/WiFi or in any way capable of receiving communication such as messages, are not allowed. In effect, it is considered a phone unless ‘disabled’ and just a watch.”

Players use other wearable smart devices that helps them keep a log of their daily workout.

Ireland pacer Boyd Rankin (r).

Ireland pacer Boyd Rankin (r).

The ICC’s crackdown on smartwatches has put the focus on two other cricketers who have been seen wearing what appear to be similar smartwatches.

In the IPL, Sunrisers Hyderabad fast bowler Siddarth Kaul has worn a smartwatch throughout the tournament while in Ireland’s inaugural Test against Pakistan in Dublin, fast bowler Boyd Rankin was photographed wearing a similar device.

If such devices are not allowed, it will be interesting if the said players’ devices were checked and whether they were given clearance to use them. Since the IPL is run under the aegis of BCCI, the Indian board’s anti-corruption unit is the final authority on such matters while during the Ireland Test it was the ICC.

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Pakistan warned by ICC over use of smart watches on day one of first Test at Lord's

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Pakistan will leave their smart watches off the field of play after being asked to do so by an International Cricket Council anti-corruption officer.

Photographs emerged on day one of the first NatWest Test against England at Lord’s of Asad Shafiq wearing a watch, which can transmit data if enabled.

Although it is unclear as yet whether the transmitting capability was enabled, it is anticipated the ICC will check that fact. Communication devices are forbidden on the field of play.

At his close-of-play press conference after helping to bowl England out for an under-par 184, despite a battling 70 from Alastair Cook, Hasan Ali clarified that an ICC official had spoken to the tourists.

“I didn’t know earlier that anyone was wearing one,” said Hasan.

“But yes, an ICC anti-corruption officer came to us and told us this is not allowed.

“So next time nobody will wear them.”

After Pakistan closed on 50 for one, Cook reflected on England captain Joe Root’s tight call to bat first under cloud cover – on a pitch he expects to deteriorate.

“I think it was a hard decision,” he said.

“It will be easy at the end of the game to say whether it was the right one.

“Fundamentally that’s a dry wicket underneath – but it had green grass on it, and rained overnight.

“So it was a bit of a weird one.”

Cook suspects forecast hot weather over this weekend may well mean batting last in this match is as difficult as batting first was.

“Lord’s over the last couple of years, if it does get hot, the wicket tends to crack,” he added.

“It could be one of those ‘first innings plays fourth innings’ games.”

England weathered some of the most difficult conditions only to lose their last five wickets for just 16 runs after tea as
Hasan and Mohammad Abbas shared eight between them.

“We knew the first two hours were going to be tough, and we scrapped hard,” said Cook.

“But then from 150 for five, to get bowled out for 180 is frustrating.

“It probably did a little bit more than we expected it to.

“Pakistan gutsed it out well there at the end. But 50 for one can be 80 for four, 120 for seven, and the game changes.”

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Mohammad Abbas and Hasan Ali shine for Pakistan on opening day at Lord's

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Pakistan's Hasan Ali took four wickets.

Pakistan were 50 for one in reply to England’s first innings 184, a deficit of 134 runs, at stumps on the first day of the first Test at Lord’s on Thursday.

Azhar Ali was 18 not out and Haris Sohail 21 not out in the first of this two-match series.

Earlier, England suffered collapses at both ends of their innings after home captain Joe Root decided to bat first when winning the toss, despite a green-tinged pitch and overcast conditions offering the promise of assistance to Pakistan’s pacemen.

Mohammad Abbas, fresh from starring in Pakistan’s five-wicket win over Test debutants Ireland in Dublin last week, led the attack with superb figures of four wickets for 23 runs in just 14 overs.

The recalled Hasan Ali also took a quartet of wickets, with four for 51 in 15.2 overs.

Alastair Cook, playing in a record-equalling 153rd consecutive Test, was the only England batsman to make a fifty, with the left-handed opener scoring 70.

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