Cricket’s #1 commentary team has just got even better, with the Seven Network adding two of the game’s all-time greats – Sunil Gavaskar and Brian Lara – to its star-studded line-up for what is shaping up as a spectacular 2020-21 season.
Gavaskar, a fearless opener who averaged 51.22 in 125 Tests for India, will join Seven for all four Tests in Australia’s blockbuster series against India, when the world’s two best teams compete for the coveted prize that bears his name – the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
From the opening day of the first Test at Adelaide Oval on 17 December, Gavaskar will be part of Seven’s incomparable team that will again be led by cricket’s most astute commentator, former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting.
Former Aussie stars Michael Slater, Damien Fleming and Simon Katich will also return as expert commentators, along with Greg Blewett in the Adelaide Test, while Mel McLaughlin, James Brayshaw, Tim Lane, Alison Mitchell and analyst Trent Copeland round out Test cricket’s best commentary team.
Across 131 Tests and 299 One-Day Internationals for the West Indies, Lara was one of the most destructive batsmen cricket has seen. He will be a key member of Seven’s BBL coverage, which kicks off 10 December.
The swashbuckling left-hander, who still holds the record Test score of 400 not out, never got to play T20 cricket at international level, but no batsmen before or since has been more naturally suited to the game’s shortest format.
Lara will be in illustrious company in the commentary box, with Seven’s BBL team including Ponting, Slater, Fleming, Brayshaw, McLaughlin, Blewett, Copeland, Brad Hodge, Lisa Sthalekar, Abbey Gelmi, Jason Richardson, Andy Maher, Alister Nicholson and Erin Holland.
In another exciting addition to Seven’s coverage this summer, five-time ICC Umpire of the Year, Simon Taufel, will join the Test team to give his expert analysis.
Managing Director Seven Melbourne and Head of Network Sport, Lewis Martin, said:
“In a summer when the world’s best two teams will take centre stage, we have pulled out all stops to assemble a star-studded commentary team. It’s a genuine thrill to welcome Sunil Gavaskar and Brian Lara to Seven this summer.
“We love the cricket and want to bring the best broadcast experience, live and free, to the fans. We’ve only taken legal action to require cricket’s administration to deliver the quality we have paid for and audiences expect.”
Welcome to Seven’s 2020-21 Summer of Cricket
Seven Commentary Team and Australia’s highest ever Test run-scorer
The build-up to this summer has obviously been very different, but we’re now on the brink of a season that’s as exciting as any in recent memory.
At the centre of it is the Test series against India. This rivalry is now as fierce as any in international cricket and this summer shapes as a heavyweight contest between the two best teams in the world.
In the past, Indian touring teams haven’t been equipped to fight fire with fire on our bouncy wickets – but not this side. With a pace attack led by Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, together with seriously quick youngsters Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj, the Indians will back themselves to match whatever Patrick Cummins, Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood throw at their top-order.
We’ll also see six of the world’s top-ranked batsmen in action. Virat Kohli and Steve Smith are the standout superstars, but Cheteshwar Pujara, David Warner, Ajinkya Rahane and Marnus Labuschagne will also have a big say in who ultimately claims the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Personally, it will be a huge thrill this summer to commentate alongside the man whose name adorns the series’ trophy – the one and only Sunil Gavaskar. Sunny is indisputably one of the game’s all-time greats and no one is better placed to take viewers inside the Indian dressing room.
Speaking of all-time greats, Seven’s BBL commentary team has landed one of its own, with West Indian legend Brian Lara. Brian retired before getting the chance to play international T20 cricket, but he would have dominated the game’s shortest format with his swashbuckling stroke play all around the wicket.
In Dawid Malan, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, the world’s top-ranked T20 batsman, bowler and all-rounder are already locked in. With teams now permitted to sign three marquee international players, we can look forward to more overseas big names locking horns with Aussie stars that include Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and Chris Lynn.
It all makes for a sensational summer of cricket and I can’t wait to step back into the Seven commentary box.
Host of Seven’s Test and BBL coverage
We’ve all waited so patiently during this crazy year – thank God the cricket’s back!
It feels like a lifetime ago we were at the SCG for the final day of last summer’s Test Series, and then the BBL Final.
I think we share the same excitement as the fans and players alike; we can’t wait to see Australia and India do battle again. It was a ferocious contest last time – and let’s not forget it was missing the great Steve Smith and David Warner, and took place before Marnus Labuschagne became last summer’s run-making revelation.
We will savour having “King Kohli” on our shores for as long as possible; hopefully he and Tim Paine resume hostilities from day one in Adelaide. Of course, it’s not all about Virat Kohli. The Indians return with another formidable squad, setting the stage for another huge series between the best two teams in the world.
In great news for our team at Seven, we’re delighted to have Sunil Gavaskar on board for his unique insights into the Indian team, as well as our own.
We’ve just witnessed another hugely successful WBBL season. It looked a little different – and credit to all the teams who played the season out of hubs in Sydney – but it was just as exciting as ever with our homegrown stars, some incredible international players and a huge number of rising stars.
For Sydney Thunder, with its blend of youth and experience, to beat the tournament favourites, the Melbourne Stars, and become this year’s champions once again highlights the promising future of the women’s game.
On a personal note, the 7Cricket team – both in front of and behind the camera – can’t wait to get the band back together. We’ve got so many ideas and are just so excited to get things underway.
The Summer of Cricket on Seven is simply unmissable.
Seven’s commentary team
Ricky Ponting – Expert Commentator
One of the most decorated cricketers in the game’s history, Ponting has led Seven’s commentary team since its foundation in 2018-19. In 168 Test matches, Ponting bludgeoned 13,378 runs at the remarkable average of 51.85 and currently sits second on the all-time runs list, behind Indian great Sachin Tendulkar. The Tasmanian also captained Australia in 77 Tests from 2004 to 2010 – second behind Allan Border – and in One Day Internationals also led the Aussies to the 2003 and 2007 World Cup crowns. Now widely regarded as the best cricket commentator in the world, Ponting’s intimate knowledge of the game is matched by his ability to communicate to cricket fans of all levels of interest and understanding. Twitter:@RickyPonting Instagram: rickyponting
Mel McLaughlin – Host
McLaughlin has hosted a raft of leading sporting events on the national and world stage, including Test and BBL cricket, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, FIFA World Cups, Winter Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, the Melbourne Cup Carnival and the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix. As 7NEWS Sydney’s sports anchor, McLaughlin presents sport five nights a week, following a passion she has lived and breathed from a very young age as part of a sports-mad family. This summer, McLaughlin will co-host all four Test matches alongside James Brayshaw, and hosting blockbuster BBL games.
Sunil Gavaskar – Expert Commentator
The Indian all-time great joins Seven’s commentary team for Australia’s Test Series against India, when the bitter rivals will compete for the prize that bears the legendary batsman’s name – the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. A fearless opener who stared down some of the greatest bowling attacks in history, Gavaskar scored a then-world record 10,122 runs at an average of 51.22 in 125 Tests from 1971 to 1987. Since his retirement, Gavaskar has forged a highly successful career as a commentator, winning a wide following for his forthright and insightful views. This summer he will offer invaluable insights into the powerhouse Indian Test team.
Brian Lara – Expert Commentator
The most destructive batsman of his generation, Lara blasted 11,953 runs for the West Indies at an average of 52.88 in 131 Tests from 1990 to 2006; he still holds the highest individual score, 400 not out against England in 2004. He was equally dominant in One Day Internationals, averaging 40.48 runs across 299 matches. The left-hander never had the opportunity to play T20 cricket internationally before his retirement, but his rampaging stroke play all around the wicket would have been a huge hit in the game’s shortest format. In a huge coup for cricket fans, Lara joins Seven’s team this summer for BBL 10.
Michael Slater – Expert Commentator
A swashbuckling opener in Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh’s dominant Australian teams of the 1990s and early 2000s, Slater played his shots from the opening ball, his quick scoring rate making him a genuine match-winner and crowd favourite. From 1993 to 2001, he averaged 42.83 across 74 Tests and scored 14 centuries. He was a member of the Australian team’s record run of 16 Test victories in a row from 1999 to 2001. Since retiring, Slater has enjoyed a successful media career, bringing an upbeat, vibrant and fun style to his cricket commentary that fans have readily embraced.
Damien Fleming – Expert Commentator
Fleming compiled an impressive career for Australia as a fast-medium swing bowler, taking 75 wickets at the excellent average of 25.89 in Test matches and 134 wickets in 88 One Day Internationals at 25.38. The Victorian’s career highlights include a Test hat-trick on debut against Pakistan, 31 Test wickets over the 1999-2000 summer and his key role in the victorious 1999 World Cup team. “Flem” has been equally successful since moving into the commentary box on television and radio, where fans have loved his entertaining and insightful “bowlology” theories.
Alison Mitchell – Test Match Caller
International sports broadcaster and commentator Alison Mitchell is an award-winning journalist and has won plaudits around the world for her polished and professional cricket commentary. She started her career at the BBC, where she has worked extensively across television and radio in broadcasting and journalism. She also has more than 10 years’ experience in ball-by-ball commentary internationally, having covered series in England, Australia, Sri Lanka and India. A meticulous researcher and lover of the game, Mitchell also has an instinctive ability to draw out the best from the experts alongside her in the commentary box.
James Brayshaw – Host and Caller
Brayshaw enjoyed a distinguished cricket career at first-class level, averaging 42.53 runs across 75 matches as a top-order batsman. He was also part of two Sheffield Shield-winning teams, with Western Australia in 1987-88 and South Australia in 1995-96. Brayshaw has become a fan favourite since moving into television and radio, both as a host and commentator. This summer, he will co-host and call Australia’s Test series against India, along with BBL matches.
Lisa Sthalekar – Expert Commentator
The former Australian women’s captain forged a stellar international career as an all-rounder from 2001 to 2013, becoming the first woman to score 1000 runs and take 100 wickets in One Day Internationals. She was named the Australian Women’s Cricketer of the Year in 2007 and 2008, and was a member of the World Cup triumphs in 2005 and 2013. Sthalekar has since made a seamless transition to the commentary. She will commentate on BBL games this summer.
Tim Lane – Test Match Caller
One of the best-known voices in Australian sport, Lane has earned enormous respect from sports fans over more than 40 years as an award-winning broadcaster and journalist. During that time, he has become synonymous with Australian cricket as one of the game’s leading callers. He has covered more than 100 Test matches, including the Aussies’ most recent series in Pakistan in 1998 when Mark Taylor made his famous unbeaten 334. Lane has also called more than 1500 AFL games, five Olympic Games and seven Commonwealth Games. His articulate commentary and thoughtful analysis make him an integral member of the Seven commentary team. This summer, he will call all four Test matches.
Simon Katich – Expert Commentator
A hardnosed left-hander whose greatest success came as an opener, Katich played 56 Tests for Australia from 2001-2010, averaging 45.03 runs. As a part-time left-arm wrist spinner, he also proved a handy partnership-breaker, taking 21 Test wickets at the highly respectable average of 30.23. Since retiring, Katich has showcased his keen tactical understanding of cricket as an expert commentator. He returns to Seven’s team this summer for the much-anticipated Indian Test series.
Greg Blewett – Expert Commentator
A stylish right-handed stroke-maker who played both Test and One Day International cricket for Australia, Blewett’s penchant for shots square of the wicket and powerful cover drive made him a natural entertainer. He played 46 Tests in a dominant Australian team from 1995 to 2000, scoring four centuries and regularly providing a valuable back-up bowling option as a medium pacer. Having impressed as a commentator in recent years, Blewett returns to Seven this summer for the First Test in Adelaide and BBL 10.
Brad Hodge – Expert Commentator
With an unbeaten Test double century to his name and a reputation as one of the world’s most consistent T20 players, viewers also came to know Hodge via his insightful and light-hearted on-field interviews during play at the BBL. Unlucky not to play more than six Tests after averaging 55.83 as a middle-order batsman, the Victorian represented Australia in all three forms of the game. Hodge will again provide expert commentary throughout the BBL this summer.
Trent Copeland – Expert Analysis
The star seamer continues to juggle his first-class career with New South Wales and commentary since joining Seven’s team in 2018-19. Copeland’s ongoing involvement in the Sheffield Shield means he brings rare insight to the commentary box, where he can draw on his first-hand knowledge of current players, many of whom he will play with or against this season. He puts this knowledge to excellent use with his plain-speaking match analysis that takes viewers inside the day’s play. Copeland will again unravel elite cricket’s tactics and strategy like no one else can during this summer’s Test series and the BBL.
Abbey Gelmi – Host
Gelmi has presented across Seven’s cricket, racing and Brownlow Medal coverage with a grace and energy that viewers have warmly embraced. She has also worked in sports journalism and presenting on national breakfast television, covering breaking sports news. As the granddaughter of Australian middle-distance great Herb Elliott, sport is in her blood. A key member of Seven’s cricket coverage again this summer, Gelmi will host BBL matches. Twitter:@abbey_gelmi; Instagram: abbeygelmi
Simon Taufel – Expert Analyst
After his career as a fast-medium bowler was cut short by injury, Taufel moved into umpiring, progressing so quickly through the ranks he made his first-class debut in 1994 aged just 24. By the time he retired in 2012, he was widely considered the best umpire of his generation after an international career that saw him officiate in 74 Tests, 174 One Day Internationals and 34 T20s. He won five consecutive ICC Umpire of the Year awards from 2004 to 2008, and later worked as the ICC’s Umpire Performance and Training Manager. This summer, Taufel joins Seven’s Test team, where – in a valuable addition to the live and free coverage – viewers will enjoy his expert insights into any contentious umpiring decisions.
Andy Maher – Host
Describing himself as the “unfunny one” from The Front Bar and “least swashbuckling” member of Seven’s BBL commentary team, Maher is also a highly respected journalist and sports presenter on radio and television. Maher’s extensive media commitments cover a variety of sports, including AFL and cricket. He will host BBL matches this summer. Twitter:@AndyMaherDFA;Instagram:andymaherdfa
Jason Richardson – Host
An experienced broadcaster and former elite sprinter, Richardson will again host BBL matches across Seven’s cricket coverage. A Stawell Gift winner in 1993, he brings plenty of personality and fun to a broad range of sports on Seven. A key member of Seven’s horse racing team as a host and commentator, Richardson has also worked on the Olympic Games, Winter Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Australian Open tennis and Australian Open golf.
Alister Nicholson – Commentator
Nicholson has become one of sport’s most recognisable voices over the past decade as an ABC Grandstand commentator on cricket and AFL football. His broadcasting experience extends to the NRL, A-League, Commonwealth Games, Australia’s major golf tournaments and the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Before joining Grandstand, he was a highly respected sports journalist in Tasmania, while this summer he is a member of Seven’s BBL commentary team.
Erin Holland – Sideline Reporter
Erin is a television host and presenter whose cricket experience includes working on the Indian Premier League, Pakistan Super League and Canada’s Global T20 competition. Named Miss World Australia in 2013, Holland is also a classically trained soprano singer, holding a Bachelor of Classical Voice degree from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Seven’s Summer of Cricket
Kicks off 10 December
In the BBL’s 10th season, fans will enjoy more live and free games than ever before, with Seven broadcasting 45 games, including all five finals.
The season opens on 10 December when the Hobart Hurricanes take on the BBL’s reigning champions, Sydney Sixers, at Blundstone Arena, while the home and away fixture concludes on 26 January with a tantalising double-header on Seven featuring Melbourne Renegades v Hobart Hurricanes, and Melbourne Stars v Sydney Sixers.
The finals series begins on Friday, 29 January, with the Final scheduled for Saturday, 6 February.
Australia v India Test series Four Tests, starts 17 December
First Test: Adelaide Oval, 17-21 December (day-night)
Second Test: MCG, 26-30 December
Third Test: SCG, 7-11 January
Fourth Test: Gabba, 15-19 January