Seven’s Summer of Cricket 2023 / 24: guide
Seven serves up a big summer of Cricket beginning with Big Bash League.
Seven has confirmed its Cricket commentary team with Waqar Younis, one of Pakistan’s most prolific fast bowlers, for all three tests against Pakistan.
Ricky Ponting leads the commentary team alongside former Australian coach, Justin Langer, and fellow Australian batsman and former Pakistan T20 coach, Matthew Hayden.
Also returning is former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop, who will feature across Australia v West Indies Test and Big Bash League coverage.
Alos featureing across the BBL season, Test Series and Women’s International Series are Greg Blewett, Lisa Sthalekar, Trent Copeland, Callum Ferguson, Holly Ferling, Damien Fleming, Brad Hodge, Simon Katich, Katey Martin, Kirby Short and Elyse Villani.
James Brayshaw and Mel McLaughlin will also return alongside resident callers Alister Nicholson, Tim Lane and Alison Mitchell, while Erin Holland, Andy Maher, Jason Richardson and Emma Freedman round out the team.
Regulars on BBL coverage are Aaron Finch, Chris Green, Glenn Maxwell and Will Pucovski, while 7News sport reporters Theo Doropoulos, Ryan Daniels and Anna Hay will feature in their local states.
Five-time ICC Umpire of the Year, Simon Taufel, will offer expert analysis during Test Cricket.
BBL begins today Thursday, 7 December at 7.00pm AEDT, when Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja line up together for the Brisbane Heat, to take on the Melbourne Stars at the Gabba.
Head of Network Sport, Lewis Martin, said: “Seven’s Summer of Cricket is already off to a flying start – with the Strikers taking out the WBBL title on Saturday night at Adelaide Oval.
“As we await the start of an ultra-competitive BBL, two unforgettable Test Series with our unstoppable national team, and a Women’s International Series, this Summer of Cricket will be better than ever – and Seven has assembled an all-star commentary team to match.
“With Waqar Younis and Ian Bishop joining an already outstanding on-air line up headlined by Ponting, Langer and Hayden, our coverage will reach new heights, with only the best expert analysis of Australia’s favourite summer sport,” he said.
“The only place to see it all live and free, is on Seven, Your Home of Cricket.”
Ricky Ponting said, “Pakistan have such a rich heritage of being able to produce high quality fast bowlers.
“That’s one thing they’ll bring to Australia again this year. They’ll bring higher quality fast bowling and with the first game being in Perth, it’s not going to be easy for the Aussie batters.
“You love seeing the best players performing their art out in the middle and when you look at Steve Smith and Babar Azam, they are artists at what they do.
“I was lucky enough to see Babar a couple of years ago on his first tour of Australia and I was really impressed with the way he was able to adapt to the faster, bouncier conditions here in Australia. He’s going to be a key player for Pakistan, there’s no doubt about it.”
Big Bash League
Across 34 prime-time nights, including all four finals, Seven will deliver every heart-racing moment of cricket’s most exciting competition, live and free to Australians across the entire nation.
BBL |13 will start with a bang on Thursday, 7 December with a blockbuster week of live and free cricket, with six BBL matches across seven days in the lead up to the West Test between Australia and Pakistan at Optus Stadium.
On 11 days of the season, live and free BBL matches will follow stumps in Australia’s Test series, including two mega days featuring back-to-back BBL clashes on top of a full day’s play on Day One of the Boxing Day and Sydney Tests.
The home and away fixture concludes on Wednesday, 17 January with a huge match at Sydney Showgrounds Stadium between the Sydney Thunder and Melbourne Renegades.
The four-match finals series begins on Friday, 19 January, with the all-important Final scheduled for Wednesday, 24 January.
Throughout the 2023-24 BBL season, cricket fans will once again be treated to Seven’s The Spin, hosted by Lisa Sthalekar, Jason Richardson and Brad Hodge, every Thursday on Channel 7, 7mate and 7plus.
Former Australian women’s captain Lisa Sthalekar is anticipating a fiery BBL season, with off-season player movement sparking plenty of drama in 2023:
“We’ve arrived at a new era of the Big Bash,” she said.
“With a new-look competition including a reduced number of matches this year, the stakes will be even higher as teams absolutely cannot afford to drop too many wins,” she said.
“Plus, with a number of players moving clubs, there will be plenty spice out in the middle, which is just the way we like it!”
Celebrating an incredible year, capped off with an epic World Cup win for the ages, the greatest Test team of our generation are set to return home to Aussie soil for an unforgettable Summer of Cricket on Seven.
Fans can look forward to more Test cricket action as the Aussies square off with Pakistan over a three-match Test series, following an epic opening week of BBL live and free on Seven.
From the opening day of the first Test at Optus Stadium on Thursday, 14 December, Pakistani fast bowler Waqar Younis will join cricket’s incomparable commentary team, alongside former Pakistan T20 coach and beloved Australian batsman Matthew Hayden.
From Wednesday, 14 January, Seven’s cricket team will head to Adelaide Oval for the first of two Tests between Australia and the West Indies, live and free on Seven.
With a Test rivalry dating back to 1930, Australia and the West Indies have produced some of sport’s most memorable moments.
Throughout the Australia v West Indies Test, former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop will return to Seven’s commentary box, alongside former Australian international players Justin Langer, Greg Blewett, Simon Katich and Damien Fleming.
Ahead of his second summer in the commentary box for Seven, Justin Langer said: “My favourite place to tour as a player, and coach, was the West Indies.
“Each country in the West Indies has its unique characteristics, but what is consistent is the West Indians’ love for the game of cricket. Their athleticism is elite and their fast bowlers are always fun to watch. They love bowling bouncers and this always provides great entertainment.
“West Indies and Australian cricket each have a rich history. Let’s hope this summer adds more layers to that story.”
In what could be our last summer to witness this current Test team’s greatness, the only place to see every ball live and free is on Seven, Your Home of Cricket.
Women’s International Series
From Saturday, 27 January, Australia’s most-loved sports team will be back on the world stage, for the Australia v South Africa Women’s International Series.
With three T20 matches, followed by three ODIs and a four-day Test, Alyssa Healy’s adored team of Aussies will look to continue their incredibly strong form on the world stage over two weeks of women’s cricket action.
Former Australian cricketer and 7Cricket expert commentator, Holly Ferling, said: “This series is history in the making – the first time Australia will play a multi format series against South Africa, and the first time we will witness the changing of the guard on home soil.
“The word ‘evolve’ has been embedded in the culture of the Australian team since 2017, and that first evolution led by Meg Lanning saw the team transform from a World Cup disappointment to an unbeatable side in world cricket.
“Now they’ll have the chance to form the next era under a new skipper, with the familiar faces of Mooney, Healy and Perry, mixed with the young guns of Litchfield and Brown.
“This will be the first time the Aussies face the Proteas since the T20 World Cup Final in February, and the South Africans already have an advantage. A number of them know our conditions all too well after spending most summers in Australia in recent years.
“Marizanne Kapp and Laura Wolvaardt will be armed with the intel they’ve gained through the WBBL and will be looking to cause an upset. It’s going to be huge and I cannot wait.”
7Cricket Hub on 7plus
Throughout the 2023-24 Summer of Cricket, 7plus live and on demand cricket:
• The Spin: Every Thursday during the BBL season, Seven’s own Lisa Sthalekar, Brad Hodge and Jason Richardson take a deep dive into the wild word of Cricket, available live, free and on demand on 7plus.
• The Grade Cricketer: Comedic duo The Grade Cricketer are back on 7plus joined by some of the sport’s biggest names.
• Stumped: Hosted by Seven’s golden team of commentators, the cricket quiz that is so bad it’s good returns to 7plus for the 2023-24 Summer of Cricket.
• Stars TV: Stars TV takes you inside one of the BBL’s greatest clubs, the Melbourne Stars, with behind-the-scenes access to some of the biggest names and rising stars of world cricket. Episodes available to stream every Wednesday on 7plus.
• Renegades Recruit: Cricketers from across Victoria come together to compete for a unique high-performance opportunity with the Renegades Academy. The winner of the show receives a unique opportunity to develop their cricket with the Renegades. Available to stream now on 7plus.
• 7Cricket FAST Channel: From Friday, 8 December, viewers can head to the brand new 7Cricket FAST Channel on 7plus, for all the best interviews, features, extended edits and archival content from the 7Cricket team.
7NEWS.com.au Cricket Match Centre
Ahead of the 2023-24 summer, 7NEWS.com.au has created a one-stop shop 7Cricket match centre. With fixtures, live ball-by-ball commentary, stats, breaking news and exclusive 7Cricket stories, 7NEWS.com.au has all cricket fans covered for the 2023-24 Summer of Cricket, including Australia’s Test Series, BBL and the Women’s International Series.
Seven’s Commentary Team
Ian Bishop – Expert Commentator
Bishop is a previous Trinidadian top-of-the-line cricketer who represented the West Indies cricket team between 1988 and 1998 in Tests and ODIs. He achieved 100 Test wickets in just 21 Test matches. Bishop played his final Test against England in March 1998. He has since forged a successful career as a television commentator and joins Seven’s cricket coverage for the West Indies Test.
Greg Blewett – Expert Commentator
A stylish right-handed stroke-maker who played both Test and One Day International cricket for Australia, Blewett’s penchant for shots square of the wicket and powerful cover drive made him a natural entertainer. He played 46 Tests in a dominant Australian team from 1995 to 2000, scoring four centuries and regularly providing a valuable back-up bowling option as a medium pacer. Having impressed as a commentator in recent years, Blewett returns to Seven this summer for Test cricket and BBL|13.
James Brayshaw – Host and Caller
Brayshaw enjoyed a distinguished cricket career at first-class level, averaging 42.53 runs across 75 matches as a top-order batsman. He was also part of two Sheffield Shield-winning teams, with Western Australia in 1987-88 and South Australia in 1995-96. Brayshaw has become a fan favourite since moving into television and radio, both as a host and commentator. This summer, he will co-host and call Australia’s Test series, plus BBL.
Trent Copeland – Expert Analysis
The star seamer continues to juggle his first-class career with New South Wales and commentary since joining Seven’s team in 2018-19. Copeland’s ongoing involvement in the Sheffield Shield means he brings rare insight to the commentary box, where he can draw on his first-hand knowledge of current players, many of whom he will play with or against this season. He puts this knowledge to excellent use with his plain-speaking match analysis that takes viewers inside the day’s play. Copeland will again unravel elite cricket’s tactics and strategy like no one else can during this summer’s Test series and BBL.
Callum Ferguson – Expert Commentator
Ferguson represented Australia in all three forms of the game, averaging an outstanding 41.43 runs over 30 ODI matches from 2009 to 2011. The South Australian right-hander also enjoyed a decorated 18-year first-class career with the Redbacks and played in the first 10 BBL seasons, captaining Sydney Thunder from 2019-20 to 2020-21. A revelation since making his on-air debut with Seven in last year’s WBBL tournament, Ferguson will bring his fresh voice and exceptional insight to the live and free BBL coverage this summer.
Holly Ferling – Expert Commentator
Becoming a cricket sensation at only 14 years old after securing a hat-trick in her first three balls of her men’s grade debut, Ferling debuted for the Australian Women’s Cricket Team at age 17, in all three formats – ODI, T20 and Test Cricket – while completing her schooling in Kingaroy in country Queensland. She will feature across Seven’s WBBL and BBL coverage for the 2023-24 Summer of Cricket.
Damien Fleming – Expert Commentator
Fleming compiled an impressive career for Australia as a fast-medium swing bowler, taking 75 wickets at the excellent average of 25.89 in Test matches and 134 wickets in 88 One Day Internationals at 25.38. The Victorian’s career highlights include a Test hat-trick on debut against Pakistan, 31 Test wickets over the 1999-2000 summer and his key role in the victorious 1999 World Cup team. “Flem” has been equally successful since moving into the commentary box on television and radio, where fans have loved his entertaining and insightful “bowlology” theories.
Matthew Hayden – Expert Commentator
One of Australia’s greatest openers of all-time, the destructive left-hander menaced opposition bowling attacks across 103 Test matches from 1994 to 2009, averaging 50.74 and scoring 30 centuries. In 2003, he recorded the then-highest individual Test innings, 380 runs against Zimbabwe, a score that remains the second highest in Test history. Hayden also enjoyed a stellar ODI career, averaging 43.80 over 161 matches. The Queensland fan favourite will join Seven’s cricket coverage again this summer.
Brad Hodge – Expert Commentator
With an unbeaten Test double century to his name and a reputation as one of the world’s most consistent T20 players, viewers have more recently come to know Hodge via his insightful commentary of BBL matches. Unlucky not to play more than six Tests after averaging 55.83 as a middle-order batsman, the Victorian represented Australia in all three forms of the game. Hodge will again provide expert commentary throughout the BBL this summer.
Erin Holland – Sideline Reporter and Host
Holland is a television host and presenter whose cricket experience includes working on the Indian Premier League, Pakistan Super League and Canada’s Global T20 competition. Named Miss World Australia in 2013, Holland is also a classically trained soprano singer, holding a Bachelor of Classical Voice degree from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
Simon Katich – Expert Commentator
A hardnosed left-hander whose greatest success came as an opener, Katich played 56 Tests for Australia from 2001 to 2010, averaging 45.03 runs. As a part-time left-arm wrist spinner, he also proved a handy partnership-breaker, taking 21 Test wickets at the highly respectable average of 30.23. Since retiring, Katich has showcased his keen tactical understanding of cricket as an expert commentator. He returns to Seven’s team this summer for the much-anticipated Pakistan and West Indies Test Series.
Tim Lane – Test Match Caller
One of the best-known voices in Australian sport, Lane has earned enormous respect from sports fans over more than 40 years as an award-winning broadcaster and journalist. During that time, he has become synonymous with Australian cricket as one of the game’s leading callers. He has covered more than 100 Test matches, including the Aussies’ most recent series in Pakistan in 1998 when Mark Taylor made his famous unbeaten 334. Lane has also called more than 1500 AFL games, five Olympic Games and seven Commonwealth Games. His articulate commentary and thoughtful analysis make him an integral member of the Seven cricket team. This summer, he will call Australia’s Test matches for Seven.
Justin Langer – Expert Commentator
Fresh off his time as Australian Cricket Coach, Langer arrived in 2022 at Seven with an unmatched skill set. Until the announcement of his retirement from Test cricket in 2007, Langer was one of Australia’s great top order batsmen. Originally playing at number three, he moved to opener in 2001 and played 105 Test matches scoring 7,696 runs including 23 Test centuries. Few have worn the baggy green with greater pride. Along with Matthew Hayden, Langer formed a hugely successful opening partnership, which ranks as the best in Australian history and featured six double century stands.
Andy Maher – Host
Describing himself as the “unfunny one” from The Front Bar and “least swashbuckling” member of Seven’s BBL commentary team, Maher is also a highly respected journalist and sport presenter on radio and television. Maher’s extensive media commitments cover a variety of sports, including AFL and cricket. He will again host BBL matches this summer.
Mel McLaughlin – Host
A leading 7SPORT presenter, McLaughlin has hosted a raft of leading sporting events on the national and world stage, including Test and BBL cricket, the Olympic Games, FIFA World Cups, Winter Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and the Supercars Championship. As 7NEWS Sydney’s sports anchor McLaughlin presents the 7NEWS sport bulletin five nights a week, following a passion she has lived and breathed from a very young age as part of a sports-mad family. This summer, McLaughlin will host this year’s Test matches and blockbuster BBL games.
Alison Mitchell – Test Match Caller
An international sports broadcaster and commentator, Mitchell is an award-winning journalist and has won plaudits around the world for her polished and professional cricket commentary. She started her career at the BBC, where she has worked extensively across television and radio in broadcasting and journalism. She also has more than 10 years’ experience in ball-by-ball commentary internationally, having covered series in England, Australia, Sri Lanka and India. A meticulous researcher and lover of the game, Mitchell also has an instinctive ability to draw out the best from the experts alongside her in the commentary box.
Alister Nicholson – Commentator
Nicholson has become one of sport’s most recognisable voices over the past decade as an ABC Grandstand commentator on cricket and AFL football. His broadcasting experience extends to the NRL, A-League, Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Australia’s major golf tournaments and the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Before joining Grandstand, he was a highly respected sport journalist in Tasmania, while this summer he returns to Seven’s BBL commentary team.
Ricky Ponting – Expert Commentator
One of the most decorated cricketers in the game’s history, Ponting has led Seven’s commentary team since its foundation in 2018-19. In 168 Test matches, Ponting bludgeoned 13,378 runs at the remarkable average of 51.85 and currently sits second on the all-time runs list, behind Indian great Sachin Tendulkar. The Tasmanian also captained Australia in 77 Tests from 2004 to 2010 – second behind Allan Border – and in One Day Internationals also led the Aussies to the 2003 and 2007 World Cup crowns. Now widely regarded as the best cricket commentator in the world, Ponting’s intimate knowledge of the game is matched by his ability to communicate to cricket fans of all levels of interest and understanding.
Jason Richardson – Host
An experienced broadcaster and former elite sprinter, Richardson will host BBL matches across Seven’s cricket coverage this summer. A Stawell Gift winner in 1993, he brings plenty of personality and fun to a broad range of sports on Seven. A key member of Seven’s horse racing team as a host and commentator, Richardson has also worked on the Olympic Games, Winter Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Australian Open tennis and Australian Open golf.
Lisa Sthalekar – Expert Commentator
The former Australian women’s captain forged a stellar international career as an all-rounder from 2001 to 2013, becoming the first woman to score 1000 runs and take 100 wickets in One Day Internationals. She was named the Australian Women’s Cricketer of the Year in 2007 and 2008, and was a member of the World Cup triumphs in 2005 and 2013. Sthalekar has since made a seamless transition to the commentary box and will commentate on BBL games this summer.
Simon Taufel – Expert Analyst
After his career as a fast-medium bowler was cut short by injury, Taufel moved into umpiring, progressing so quickly through the ranks he made his first-class debut in 1994 aged just 24. By the time he retired in 2012, he was widely considered the best umpire of his generation after an international career that spanned 74 Tests, 174 ODIs and 34 T20s. He won five consecutive ICC Umpire of the Year awards from 2004 to 2008, and later worked as the ICC’s Umpire Performance and Training Manager. This summer, Taufel returns to Seven’s Test team, where viewers will enjoy his expert insights into contentious umpiring decisions.
Elyse Villani – Expert Commentator
Top-order bat Elyse Villani’s clean hitting and impeccable timing have seen her grow into one of the most damaging batters in international women’s cricket. Villani has enjoyed great success with the Australian Women’s cricket team, helping them to lift the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 trophy in the West Indies in 2010. More recently playing for the Melbourne Stars in the WBBL, Villani stepped behind the microphone for Seven’s 2023 WBBL coverage and will continue her role across Seven’s 2023-24 BBL telecast.
Waqar Younis – Expert Commentator
One of the greatest fast bowlers to ever play the game, Waqar Younis enjoyed an incredible international career which spanned 14 years and included 87 Tests and 262 ODIs for Pakistan. His ability to reverse swing the ball at lightning speeds earned him the reputation as one of the most feared bowlers in the world. With a focus on coaching and commentary following his outstanding playing career, Younis has become synonymous with cricket broadcasting and will bring his outstanding knowledge and insights to Seven’s Australia v Pakistan Test coverage in 2023-24.
Seven’s Summer Of Cricket
Starts 7 December
Opening Match: The Gabba, 7 December
Brisbane Heat v Melbourne Stars, 7.00pm AEDT live and free on Seven
BBL Returns: Adelaide Oval, 19 December
Adelaide Strikers v Sydney Thunder, 7.00pm AEDT live and free on Seven
Super Mega Day: Boxing Day, 26 December
Sydney Sixers v Melbourne Stars at the SCG, 6.00pm AEDT live and free on Channel 7 and 7mate
Perth Scorchers v Melbourne Renegades at Optus Stadium, 9.10pm AEDT live and free on Channel 7
Super Mega Day: 3 December
Sydney Sixers v Brisbane Heat at Coffs Harbour, 6.00pm AEDT live and free on Channel 7 and 7mate
Perth Scorchers v Adelaide Strikers at Optus Stadium, 9.10pm AEDT live and free on Channel 7
The Qualifier: 19 December, 7.00pm AEDT live and free on Channel 7 and 7mate
The Eliminator: 20 December, 7.00pm AEDT live and free on Channel 7 and 7mate
The Challenger: 22 December, live and free on Channel 7 and 7mate (time TBC)
The Final: 23 December, live and free on Channel 7 and 7mate (time TBC)
Australia v Pakistan Test series
Starts 14 December
First Test: Optus Stadium, 14 – 18 December
Coverage starts at 12.30pm AEDT on Channel 7 and 7mate on all five days
Second Test: MCG, 26 – 30 December
Coverage starts at 9.30am AEDT on Channel 7 and 7mate on all five days
Third Test: SCG, 3 – 7 January
Coverage starts at 9.30am AEDT on Channel 7 and 7mate on all five days
Australia v West Indies Test series
Starts 17 January
First Test: Adelaide Oval 17 – 21 January
Coverage starts at 9.30am AEDT on Channel 7 and 7mate/7two on all five days
Second Test: The Gabba, 25 – 30 January (day-night)
Coverage starts at 2.00pm AEDT on Channel 7 and 7mate on all five days
Women’s International Series
Begins 27 January – Australia v South Africa
Women’s T20 Game One: Manuka Oval, 27 January
Coverage starts at 10.30am AEDT on Channel 7 and 7mate
Women’s T20 Game Two: Manuka Oval, 28 January
Coverage starts at 10.30am AEDT on Channel 7 and 7mate
Women’s T20 Game Three: Hobart, 30 January
Coverage starts at 7.00pm AEDT on 7mate
Women’s ODI Game One: Adelaide, 3 February
Coverage starts at 2.30pm AEDT on 7mate
Women’s ODI Game Two: North Sydney Oval, 7 February
Coverage starts at 2.30pm AEDT on 7mate
Women’s ODI Game Three: North Sydney Oval, 10 February
Coverage starts at 2.30pm AEDT on 7mate
Test Match: WACA, 15– 18 February
Coverage starts at 1.30pm AEDT live and free on 7mate on all four days