O’Keeffe is part of the commentary team for Fox Cricket in Australia, and is heard on air in India as well with broadcast rights holder Sony Pictures Networks - Sports using a combination of its own in-studio commentary and the feed from Down Under.
But according to a report in Mumbai Mirror, the Indian broadcaster has decided to not use the feed from Australia when O’Keeffe is on air seemingly because of the backlash his comments received.
First, O’Keeffe came under fire for his remark about Railways “canteen staff” in reference to Mayank Agarwal’s runs in India’s domestic cricket circuit. Later during the MCG Test, O’Keeffe was slammed on social media for struggling with pronunciations of the names of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja and making jokes out of it.
The report stated that Sony will use the commentary roster obtained from Fox and will ensure he is not heard by Indian viewers.“We cannot have someone making snide remarks on Indian players,” the report quoted a source in direct knowledge of the development, adding that the Indian broadcaster 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.
O’Keeffe had responded after the Melbourne Test saying he was still coming to terms with the negative interpretation of the remarks. In an open letter on foxsports.com.au, he had written:
“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.”
While Ravi Shastri, the Indian head coach, had responded to the canteen remarks with a joke of his own, bowling coach Bharat Arun said during a press conference in Melbourne that the team had not considered making any official comment. He, however, noted that the team was hurt to hear such comments and would prefer to give their response on the field.