Melbourne: In a bid to ensure a corruption-free World Cup following the spot-fixing scandal, the International Cricket Council has banned players and team officials from tweeting during matches.
The decision, an initiative of ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, was intended to restrain the players and officials from any possible approach by people with links to illegal betting during World Cup matches.
The move from the ICC came in response to Australian team manager Steve Bernard's tweets which attracted more than 1,100 followers to his @stevebernard37 account in the past six months, including during Ashes and the subsequent ODI series, according to a report in Sydney Morning Herald.
The long-time manager was told soon after arriving in Bangalore with the team last week that he, as well as any other player or team official at the World Cup, had been banned from tweeting during matches.
"When it comes to issues of corruption we prefer to err on the side of caution. We don't want to spoil anyone's fun but there is a chance that sensitive information could be passed on during matches in this way, even inadvertently, and we just feel that team managers' phones should be kept for operational purposes only.
"This recommendation is not confined to the Australia team manager but all teams in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 and is certainly not a reaction to anything the Australia team manager has said or done in the past. It's merely a precaution and is not something we are overly worried about at this stage," ICC spokesman James Fitzgerald was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Players and officials will still, however, be permitted to tweet when matches are not occurring.
Cricket Australia chief spokesman Peter Young believed that the in-game ban had been imposed by the ICC due to the heightened sensitivity about corruption in cricket.
"(Bernard) is very judicious about what he does and doesn't say but while he's getting it right there needs to be one rule for all," Young said.
"It is, as I understand, a perception issue. They don't want players or team management able to be communicating to the outside world because of the concern the information might be misused by the illegal betting industry."
Bernard and Australia coach Tim Nielsen began tweeting last August based on a request from CA, which wanted fans to get a better insight into the team.