Iconic cricket commentator and former Australian skipper Bill Lawry is all set to put down the microphone after commentating for four decades, confirmed by him on Tuesday (15 May).
The cricket legend has taken the decision after his Channel Nine lost their free-to-air Australian cricket television rights to the Seven and Fox Sports networks. However, both Networks have contacted Lawry to join the commentary panel but the Aussie refused, saying he “doesn’t want to spoil a great journey”.
The 81-year-old, who has played 67 Tests and a lone One Day International for Australia, had started his commentary journey 40-years ago with Channel 9 television, and he has been enjoyed a fabulous time with the channel, that’s why he didn’t want to join any other broadcasters.
As per reports in ESPNCricinfo, Lawry told SEN Radio, “Yes I am [retiring]. I’ve had 40 great years at Channel Nine and been very lucky and I think the time’s just right. I think it’s just been such a wonderful journey and I don’t want to spoil a great journey. I’ve seen the best cricketers for the last 40 years, I’ve been through the Packer years, I’ve commentated with guys like Ian Healy and Mark Taylor and all the new boys and it’s just been a wonderful journey I never really expected.”
He further added, “I think we’ve seen the change of cricket, from basically being amateurs, I played 17 years of first-class cricket for virtually nothing, which I would’ve done again because I didn’t know anything different. But the modern era brought on by Packer and Richie leading Channel Nine into a new era and all the others popping up, it’s just been a fabulous time.”
On Channel Nine’s loss of broadcasting rights, he said, “It was disappointing for all the people who work there because they’ve just been fantastic, from the CEO down to the boy who runs around with the sandwiches. It brought modern cricket into the home, their replays, the third umpires, stump cam and all that rubbish, Greigy and his pitch report way back in the early days sticking a key into the pitch."
Lawry signed off by saying, "it just brought people right into their home how Test and one-day cricket’s played and then Twenty20 cricket. Modern-day cricket’s been fantastic I think for all sports - golf’s improved, tennis has improved, and I think it all goes back to Kerry Packer throwing a lot of money at a project he wanted to win.”