Former Australia cricketer turned commentator, Kerry O’Keeffe, grabbed the headlines last week for his racial remarks direct at the Indian players. O'Keeffe's comments had tickled a raw nerve and a lot of criticism was directed his way. However, a report in Mumbai Mirror claims that his voice won’t be heard in India anymore.
Apparently, the Indian broadcaster has decided to black him out. The exact role of BCCI cannot be confirmed but Sony, which is telecasting the series in India, has decided to not air the Australian’s commentary.
Report suggests that the Indian broadcaster will now use 30 minutes of its own commentary from the Mumbai studios and then takes commentary feed from Fox Sports for the next half an hour. Sony now has got the commentary roster of Fox and has decided that Fox commentary is not heard by Indian viewers when O'Keeffe is on air.
“We cannot have someone making snide remarks on Indian players,” an anonymous source quoted as saying by Mumbai Mirror. Sony sources, however, ruled out pressure from the BCCI or any other authority. “We’re sensitive to that matter, we don’t need to be told,” the source commented.
During the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, O'Keeffe received the flak for his insulting remark on debutant opener Mayank Agarwal and Indian domestic bowlers. The 69-year-old had taken a jibe at Agarwal’s top score of 304* in first-class cricket, saying that his triple ton in Ranji Trophy came against "canteen staff and waiters".
He then took a dig at Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja over the pronunciation of their names. During the fourth day of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, O'Keeffe had said: “Why would you name your kid Cheteshwar Jadeja”.
The comments resulted in an instant backlash on social media with many Indian fans saying it had racial tones. The controversy also led to O’Keeffe writing an open letter to Indian fans, stressing that he did not intend to disrespect Indian cricket and was only making a tongue-in-cheek remark.
(With inputs from Mumbai Mirror)