These are the faces that won’t be appearing on Channel 9 for the first time in 40 years.
These are the faces that won’t be appearing on Channel 9 for the first time in 40 years.

Channel 7’s latest cricket powerplay

CHANNEL 7 is going to leave no stone unturned as it - along with Fox Sports - aims to revolutionise cricket coverage after winning the broadcast rights earlier this month.

Cricket Australia signed off on its landmark $1.182 billion, six-year broadcast rights deal with Fox Sports and Seven nearly two weeks ago, ending Channel 9's four-decade broadcast of the home summer.

All Tests and 43 of the 59 Big Bash League (BBL) matches will be simulcast between Fox Sports and Seven. Fox Sports will exclusively showcase home international one-day and T20 matches, along with the remaining 16 games of the BBL on a new dedicated cricket channel during summer.

Network 10 lost the rights to the BBL but that doesn't mean its legacy won't carry on to the next broadcast cycle with Seven announcing today it has recruited Dave Barham to head up its cricket coverage.

Barham was previously Network 10's head of sport and was instrumental in developing the BBL into the wildly popular and successful product it is today.

Fans tuned in to listen to the expert commentary of legends like Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist, while hearing players on the field wearing a microphone communicate with the TV audience was another defining characteristic of the league.

 

Barham has also worked on Channel 10's F1 coverage and CEO of Seven West Media Tim Worner lauded his signing as a massive coup as the network embarks on its cricket journey.

"I am really pleased with our first cricket signing. There is no one better placed to lead our coverage than Dave, who has been instrumental in the phenomenal success of the BBL," Worner said.

"I know Dave has been itching to have a crack at Test cricket for some time, and having heard some of his ideas, next summer can't come soon enough."

Channel 7's head of sport Saul Shtein said he is "a huge fan of Dave's BBL innovative production which raised the bar for cricket coverage in Australia" while Barham is excited about what lies ahead.

"In my conversations with Tim (Worner) it's very clear he and his team are 100 per cent committed to producing even bigger and better BBL coverage and completely re-energising the Tests, so I can't wait to get stuck in," he said.

Ten made its disappointment at missing out on renewing its broadcast rights clear after having played a significant role in the growth of BBL ratings and crowd figures during its four-year deal.

"Network Ten turned the Big Bash League into the television phenomenon it is today and one of the most popular sports in Australia, a sport that all Australians were able enjoy for free," chief executive Paul Anderson said in a statement.

"We had planned to extend that innovation to other forms of the game."

Test cricket has a new home.
Test cricket has a new home.

There's been much debate over who will join the Channel 7 commentary team since it was revealed cricket would be leaving Channel 9 for the first time in 40 years. Cricket journalist Robert Craddock speculated Ponting and Gilchrist will both be in high demand, and with Barham at the helm, his existing relationship with BBL talent may help in securing their services.

Worner has already said he's reached out to iconic broadcaster Dennis Cometti - best known for his AFL commentary - to join the team. Cometti retired from his TV role with Seven but Worner is hopeful of luring the 69-year-old back behind the microphone.

"I can certainly tell you that I have reached out to Dennis Cometti," Worner said this month. "Dennis is someone who I believe is a superb commentator and he actually started I think calling cricket.

"He's called a lot of cricket and he's exceptionally good at it."



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