FOX SPORTS ADD A FE­MALE TOUCH

TV commentary rev­o­lu­tion takes shape

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT -

FOX Sports has signed noted straight-shooter Mark Waugh to part­ner Adam Gilchrist be­hind the mi­cro­phones and recre­ate their Big Bash magic.

Af­ter Chan­nel 7 nabbed Ricky Ponting to front its freeto-air cov­er­age, Fox has hit back hard and con­firmed Waugh, Mike Hussey, Me­lanie Jones, Michael Vaughan and Isa Guha have all joined up to lead its cricket rev­o­lu­tion.

That’s over 550 Tests, 1200 ODIs and 75 T20s be­tween the team so far. And there’s more.

It’s un­der­stood Fox is tar­get­ing fel­low ex-Chan­nel Ten BBL commentary stars Damien Flem­ing and An­drew Sy­monds to add to the en­gag­ing on-air chem­istry and ca­ma­raderie al­ready shared be­tween Big Bash favourites Gilchrist, Waugh and Jones.

The pair opened the bat­ting in one-day cricket for Aus­tralia and their in­sight­ful and hard­hit­ting com­bi­na­tion will form the back­bone of Fox Cricket.

While Chan­nel 9’s for­mer commentary team re­mains vir­tu­ally un­touched by hun­gry new broad­cast­ers, Fox and Seven are feast­ing on the tal­ent from Ten’s award-win­ning BBL cov­er­age.

Amid a raft of new sign­ings, there could be an­other in­ter­est­ing commentary twist, with cult hero Kerry O’Ke­effe in Fox’s sights.

O’Ke­effe is con­sid­ered one of the most pop­u­lar com­men­ta­tors in Aus­tralia through his rare brand of hu­mour and in­sight­ful re­search, and he could be tar­geted to host his own show on Fox’s ded­i­cated Fox Cricket chan­nel.

Waugh has been at the coal­face of Aus­tralian cricket in his role as a na­tional se­lec­tor and will head to Zim­babwe in July to join Justin Langer’s team for a Twenty20 tri-se­ries.

The pull-no-punches com­men­ta­tor is ex­cited about ramp­ing up his com­bi­na­tion with Gilchrist.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to work­ing with Gilly, we get on well. He’s a knowl­edge­able guy and he’s easy to work with,” said Waugh.

“Fox have got a great crew to­gether. AB (Al­lan Bor­der) and BJ (Bren­don Ju­lian) are guys I’ve worked with a lot and it’s go­ing to be ex­cit­ing to see how it all pans out.

“They’ve got a ded­i­cated chan­nel ob­vi­ously which is a first in Aus­tralia for cricket.”

Hussey’s sign­ing marks a re­turn by “Mr Cricket” to tele­vi­sion commentary af­ter be­ing dumped by Chan­nel 9.

Jones was also a star of Ten’s Big Bash cov­er­age and has a nat­u­ral on-screen flair. The for­mer Aus­tralian women’s crick­eter, along with for­mer Eng­land women’s in­ter­na­tional Guha, will bring ex­per­tise to Fox Cricket’s cov­er­age of the women’s BBL.

And for­mer Eng­land cap­tain Michael Vaughan will be the cen­tre­piece.

“My af­fil­i­a­tion with Aus­tralian cricket goes back many years and I can’t wait to get started later this year,” he said.

Mark Waugh at the Scone races yes­ter­day.

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