Former Australia cricketer Kerry O’Keeffe finds himself in the midst of another commentary-related controversy during the third Test between India and Australia in Melbourne.
O’Keeffe, who is commentating for Fox Cricket in Australia, and is heard on air in India as well with rights holder Sony Sports using a combination of its own in-studio commentary and the world feed, was slammed for his inability to pronounce Indian names properly.
While O’Keeffe has been on air through the series, pronouncing names like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja has not been easy for him. There is nothing alarming as such with having issues pronouncing foreign names, but the matter crossed a line on Saturday when Shane Warne asked his co-commentator about his difficulty.
O’Keeffe responded with, “Why would you name your kid Cheteshwar, Jadeja,” accompanied by chuckles from his fellow commentators on air.
This is not the first time he has been called out during this Test match.
“Apparently he got the triple [century] against the Railways canteen staff,” O’Keeffe, was quoted as saying on air during the first day of the Test, referring to Mayank Agarwal’s triple century in the Ranji Trophy.
After getting a lot of flak on social media for his comments, O’Keeffe issued an apology, saying he had only said that “tongue in cheek”. But even the apology was with a caveat, saying he was sorry if it offended someone – not exactly apologising for what was an ill-informed remark.
Interestingly, the Daily Telegraph published a rating for the commentators from Fox Cricket and 7Cricket for the ongoing series, where O’Keeffe finds himself at No 3, with a one-line verdict that seems fairly ironic, given his recent remarks: “Not just a funny bloke. Well researched and loves the game.”
The fact that a commentator paid to cover the most high-profile series of the Australian summer has troubles pronouncing the opponent’s names (three Tests into the series, no less) did not go down well on social media.
This tweet would sum up how most fans would feel right now.