Fox add Lee, O'Keeffe to commentary team

Former Test speedster and iconic broadcaster will take the microphone for the pay-TV provider this season

Louis Cameron

13 July 2018, 08:06 AM AEST

Fox Sports have added two more voices to their cricket commentary team for the coming summer, with former Test bowlers Brett Lee and Kerry O'Keeffe both signing on.

The subscription television network confirmed Lee, Australia's fifth all-time leading Test wicket taker and a former Channel Nine commentator, and O'Keeffe, who played 24 Tests as a leg-spinner before becoming an iconic radio caller with the ABC and more recently Triple M, will be part of their coverage this season.

The pair join the likes of Shane Warne, Mel Jones, Adam Gilchrist, Isa Guha, Mark Waugh, Allan Border, Mike Hussey and Michael Vaughan behind the microphone.

Fox Sports will broadcast every international men's and women's match as well both Big Bash Leagues as part of a new $1.182 billion broadcast deal which has also seen Channel Seven take over free-to-air rights from the Nine and Ten networks.

Fox's announcement comes after Seven this week added former Australia players Lisa Sthalekar, Jason Gillespie, Greg Blewett, Simon Katich and Brad Hodge as well as highly-rated callers Alison Mitchell, Bruce McAvaney and Tim Lane to their commentary team. 

Seven had already signed up Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath, Michael Slater and Damien Fleming. 

"From the very beginning at Fox Cricket we put an emphasis on story-telling and have carefully selected the best communicators in the game," Fox Sports head of television Steve Crawley said. "We wouldn't swap any of them and now we're adding 'Binga' (Lee) and Kerry.

"Every kid with a ball in their hand still dreams of being Brett Lee. And when you want a laugh on a hot summers day there's no one more fun than Kerry O'Keeffe. Even his laugh makes you laugh. We're going to have a lot of fun together".

O'Keeffe's quick wit and unique laugh became synonymous with ABC Radio's broadcasting of cricket, while the 24-Test former leggie has also developed a reputation as one of the game's most knowledgeable and well-researched callers.

"I've dabbled in television over the years," the 68-year-old told News Ltd. "I'm not a television veteran - I'm just a veteran - but although radio is my schtick I've done enough television to know how it works. 

"If the listener or the viewer senses that we're having a good time, it transfers to them - they have a good time."

Speaking to Fox Sports, he added: "I get on well with the commentary team Fox have assembled, they're easy to work with, they know my humour, so I think it's going to be a winner."

Lee believes experience from a two-decade long international and domestic cricket career as a fast bowler will help him cut through to viewers.

"On air, I want to tell people what the bowler is thinking. Everyone can see it's gone for four through the covers, everyone can see he's bowled a no ball. But we want to tell people why he's overstepped the mark and how he can stop doing it," Lee told Fox.

"Because I've done it, I've been in that situation where I've been under pressure bowling no balls back-to-back and you get to the top of your run up and people say to just bring your mark back, but it's actually that you might move it forward and take shorter steps.

"It's little things like that that people wouldn't realise … hopefully we can tap into that and give that to the viewer in a nice, crisp way."