Cricket's new landscape leaves former greats in commentary limbo
Former Australian great and Channel Nine commentator Ian Healy says he "won't have a clue" what he will do during summer if the network, as expected, loses rights to broadcast the game in this country.
Seven West Media is set to become the new free-to-air broadcast partner for Cricket Australia in a $1 billion deal to be announced on Friday.
The network has entered a partnership with pay-TV provider Foxtel in a deal which ends Nine's 40-year long association with Australia's biggest summer sport. Ten has also lost the rights to the Big Bash League.
Commentary greats Ian Chappell and Bill Lawry, who have been part of Nine's coverage since it started, now face uncertain futures. Chappell called for Macquarie Radio during the summer.
It is also unclear what the new rights deal will mean for the likes of Mark Taylor, Shane Warne, Healy, Michael Slater, Michael Clarke and Mark Nicholas.
"I won't have a clue what it's going to be like," Healy said.
"I've had 40 summers full of cricket. I've never had a summer holiday, that might be ok.
"Having been told it this morning I thought 'gee, I don't think I can believe that',
"They better be getting a lot of money at a time cricket's going through a lot of drama.
"It will be a terrible shame for Nine. I've always enjoyed my role with Nine."
Healy joined the network in 1999 weeks after his international retirement. Along with former captain Taylor, he was part of the first significant change to the Nine team.
"Everyone was really accommodating, it was unreal, it wasn't as intimidating or territorial as we thought it might have been," Healy said.
Healy recalled one "earful" he copped from former network owner Kerry Packer, who was known for his tongue lashings towards his on air talent, after a one-day game in early 2005. Healy, Taylor and Nicholas were summonsed to Packer's office in Sydney the following day.
"It was a lovely experience, even if the first 15 minutes was a bit harrowing," Healy said. "He'd put you in your spot if you wanted to get into a discussion, then it branched into a two-and-a-half hour chat before he let us go.
"Once a year we'd get feedback from him, quite constructive, generally very right, very correct."