Former Australian cricketer Kerry O’Keeffe’s insensitive comments about Indian cricket haven’t gone down well with the official broadcasters of the India-Australia series. Sony Television Network has now taken the decision to ‘black out’ O’Keeffe from their telecast in India.
O’Keeffe has stepped into hot water with his comments about Indian domestic cricket and his remarks on Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja. According to Mumbai Mirror, the Indian broadcaster uses 30 minutes of its own commentary from its studios in Malad in Mumbai and then takes commentary from the feed of Fox for the next half an hour. Sony has decided that Fox commentary will not be heard by Indian viewers when O’Keeffe is on air.
“We cannot have someone making snide remarks on Indian players,” a source close to the development told Mumbai Mirror. Sony sources, however, ruled out pressure from the BCCI or any other authority. “We’re sensitive to that matter, we don’t need to be told,” the source added.
The 69-year-old sparked a major controversy by making some none-too-charitable remarks about Indian players and it has not exactly gone down well with the Indian side. The Mumbai tabloid added that the exact role of the BCCI could not be confirmed but Sony, who is broadcasting the matches, has decided to not air the Australian’s commentary.
O’Keefe came under fire for the first time when he remarked that opener Mayank Agarwal’s Ranji Trophy triple century came against ‘Jalandhar Railway canteen staff’ and opposition could have comprised of ‘chefs and waiters’. He drew further ire on social media when he said on air — “Why would you name your kid Cheteshwar Jadeja?” — after failing to pronounce either name.
Indian fans blamed him for racist undertones in his commentary which led to an apology from O’Keeffe.
There is a section which believes that the apology did not come without pressure from India and the tabloid added that the Australian side has clearly been made aware of India’s displeasure.