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India vs Australia | 'I Produce More Diamonds Than Rocks in Commentary' - O'Keeffe on Remarks

In an open letter to Indian players and fans, under-fire commentator Kerry O'Keeffe has said that he is "shocked and saddened" about how negatively his words have been interpreted, and clarified that he had no intentions of disrespecting Indian cricket.

Cricketnext Staff |December 30, 2018, 10:51 AM IST
India vs Australia | 'I Produce More Diamonds Than Rocks in Commentary' - O'Keeffe on Remarks

In an open letter to Indian players and fans, under-fire commentator Kerry O'Keeffe has said that he is "shocked and saddened" about how negatively his words have been interpreted, and clarified that he had no intentions of disrespecting Indian cricket.

"I have been devastated by the reaction to my on-air comments on Fox Cricket during the recently completed Third Test between Australia and India. I am coming to terms with how negatively those words have been interpreted," he wrote for Fox Sports.

"That interpretation is not who I am. It is not what I represent. My style as a commentator is to attempt to find a quirky view to lighten up some of the serious analysis.

"My family and I are shocked and saddened that so many have been upset. I have worked alongside my dear friend and colleague Harsha Bhogle for almost 25 years."

The former Australian cricketer-turned commentator first came under scrutiny for making a "canteen-staff" remark on debutant Mayank Agarwal, which also prompted head coach Ravi Shastri and Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun to come up with a reply of their own. O'Keeffe was then again criticised for questioning why someone would "name their kid Cheteshwar, Jadeja".

"When I made a remark about Indian first-class batting averages within their domestic cricket competition being made against a “canteen” bowling attack, I was being entirely tongue-in-cheek. I was certainly not disrespecting Indian cricket, where I toured as a schoolboy and for which I have the greatest admiration as a cricketing nation," he added.

"I accept that some fans may not always relate to my sense of humour — but missing the mark on a joke between overs is vastly different to what I’ve been accused of on Twitter and in some sections of the media in recent days. I pride myself on doing extensive research before a match and when I stumbled over the names of Pujara and Jadeja on Day Four, I took a swipe at myself for getting them wrong.

"There was no intention to ridicule those two wonderful players and I am horrified by any suggestion to the contrary. I had spent months researching and analysing these two players and when the moment arrived, I stuffed it up. The joke was on me."

O'Keeffe added that it's important for him to move forward and will continue commentating in his slightly offbeat style.

"I respect India, its cricketers and its supporters for their deep love of the game and it hurts me to think a couple of misplaced attempts at humour might compromise our mutual joy in all things cricket.

"While I’ve listened to the feedback to some of my calls, it’s now important for me to move on and look to the Sydney Test. I love calling cricket for a living and I’ll continue to do it in my slightly offbeat style.

"I’d like to think I produce more diamonds than rocks in the commentary box and that viewers will give me the benefit of the doubt if I bowl the occasional no-ball," he concluded.

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