Bill Lawry retires from Australia cricket commentary after 40 years
Former Australian captain and commentator, Bill Lawry has confirmed his retirement from cricket broadcasting after Channel Nine lost their free-to-air television rights saying he does not “want to spoil a great journey” that began 40 years ago.
At 81 years, Lawry received offers from the Seven and Fox Sports networks, which have bagged contracts to cover all three formats of cricket with the one-day and T20 format landed by Fox, but the iconic storyteller refused due to his attachment to Channel Nine, which he has called ‘his home.’
“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,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Lawry as telling SEN Radio.
“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.”
Expressing his disappointment with 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, 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.”