When we talk about wearable technology being used in elite sport, it’s almost always in a positive light. Advancements in that sphere have proved an invaluable modern tool for coaches and athletes alike, from feedback on performance, to monitoring of physiological parameters in order to keep a check on an athlete’s physical condition. A startup has even come up with a head-up display (HUD), to go inside a swimmers goggles.
However, it seems wearable technology, and smartwatches in particular, have hit the headlines for the wrong reasons at this week’s test match at Lords, between England and Pakistan.
During the first day of the test match, some Pakistan players incurred the wrath of the International Cricket Council (ICC) for wearing smartwatches. Two players were photographed wearing the devices, which can obviously transmit data, and as such were brought to the attention of an ICC anti-corruption officer.
It is unclear whether the connectivity function on the smartwatches were enabled, but Pakistan bowler Hasan Ali has stated that no player will wear them in the future – as no devices are allowed on the field during play unless connectivity is disabled.
Several match fixing scandals have hit the game over the last decade and as such the ICC have stated that smartwatches must be disabled as they are capable of receiving communications, such as texts and voice messages.
This is not the first time that the same situation has occurred within professional sport. Smartwatches have previously been used illicitly in Major League Baseball. Last year, the Boston Red Sox were found to have used the watches to inform their batsmen of the signs used by pitchers during matches, informing the batsmen of the pitches they would then face.