Yes, He’s Gone: Bill Lawry Finally Fully Retires From Cricket Commentary

The great cricket shake-up in Australian media continues, with Channel Nine stalwart and long-time broadcaster Bill Lawry confirming that he will completely retire from commentating the game, effective immediately.

The 81-year-old Lawry had, in recent years, been reduced to guest commentary duties during the Melbourne and Sydney Tests, but the shakeup in broadcasting channels – which has seen the broadcasting rights shift from Nine to a coalition between Seven and Fox Sports – has forced his hand.

Lawry spoke with Gerard Wheatley on SEN earlier this morning, confirming that Seven had contacted him about potentially coming across to provide commentary on their broadcasts this summer, but Lawry’s loyalty to Channel Nine, where he served in the commentary team for nearly 40 years, was too great of a pull.

Lawry began his commentary career in the late 70s, beginning with Kerry Packer’s infamous, industry-changing World Series Cricket promotion. Following that, Lawry provided much of the soundtrack to Australian summer cricket broadcasts, forming an almost unshakable team alongside the likes of Richie BenaudTony Greig, and Ian Chappell.

Lawry’s retirement continues the biggest shake-up to cricket on TV seen in 40-odd years, with Seven tapping Ricky Ponting to serve as the face of their broadcasts this summer, while Fox Sports nabbed Ponting’s former Big Bash commentary colleague Adam Gilchrist for their flagship programming.

Seven and Fox Sports will both broadcast international men’s tests this summer, with Fox’s coming ad-free on a dedicated cricket channel, much like Fox Footy or Fox League.

Fox also has the exclusive rights to international one-day and T20 matches. Seven has the rights to broadcast 43 of the 59 Big Bash League games scheduled for this season. Fox will simulcast all of those, and broadcast the 16 remaining games exclusively live.

All women’s international games across the Australian summer will be broadcast on free-to-air TV for the first time, including tests, ODIs, and T20s.

Really though, the biggest tragedy in all of this? No more Wide World of Sport theme heralding the start of the cricket.

What the hell are the Richies gonna play now?