Nine clarifies Slater’s World Cup gig
MICHAEL Slater will keep his Cricket World Cup commentary job, despite his reported flight drama this week, the International Cricket Council has announced.
Slater had reportedly been set to return to former employer Channel 9 for its coverage of cricket's most important international tournament - but the network has moved to explain the role Slater will play during the six-week showpiece, which begins on May 30.
It came as Nine on Wednesday announced a star-studded line-up for its coverage of the ICC One Day International World Cup, the Women's Ashes Series, and the Men's Ashes Series this winter.
Nine will be broadcasting 21 games of the Cricket World Cup, according to the ICC, while Fox Cricket will be screening every match of the tournament.
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Slater did not feature in Nine's announcement, but the 49-year-old will still be heard on Nine's coverage through his role with the ICC's global feed service, which will be used across the world by local TV networks.
The ICC global service, which will be produced by Star Sports, has amassed a small army of 50 international commentators for the event, including Slater and former Australian captain Michael Clarke.
A Channel 9 spokesman confirmed Slater would feature on Nine through the international feed, but not be directly involved in Nine's commentary and presentation teams.
Nine's World Cup coverage will be hosted by Rebecca Maddern, former Australian captains Mark Taylor and Lisa Sthalekar, and Aussie great Ian Healy.
The ICC earlier announced its international broadcast service, which Nine will be using, will also feature cricket legends including India's Sourav Ganguly, Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara, English veteran Mark Nicholas, Pakistan speed demon Wasim Akram, and former Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum.
Slater's World Cup role could be the former opener's best chance to lock down a commentary job for the upcoming Australian summer of cricket.
Slater has faced recent conjecture over his commentary career after a shake-up of the cricket broadcast rights led to him splitting from Channel 9 to link with new rights holder Channel 7.
It had been reported Channel 7 was planning to revise its relationship with the former batsman after just one summer amid rumours of erratic behaviour.
"There had been issues with dealing with him in the work place," media reporter Peter Ford told Channel 7 this week.
"I'm told none of it really showed on air, but there were mood swings taking place off air that were of concern to people who were working with him.
"Michael Slater has something wrong going on in his life that is causing him to behave in ways that are of concern."
Channel 7 has denied making a decision on Slater's future, saying the make-up of its team for the 2019-2020 summer of cricket - which is set to include new addition McCullum - wouldn't be settled until the spring.
"At this stage of the cricket season, Michael is working for a number of broadcasters," Channel 7 said in a statement to Macquarie Radio.
"He doesn't actually come back into our world until the start of the season."
Slater's alleged erratic behaviour made headlines this week after a Qantas flight from Sydney to Wagga Wagga was reportedly grounded for 30 minutes as the cricket great had a heated argument involving two women.
Slater and his representatives have denied reports he locked himself in a bathroom before take-off.
Qantas has confirmed "a male passenger" complied with the crew's requests when he was escorted from the flight.
Slater responded to the swirling reports by releasing a statement to Macquarie Radio.
"I did have an argument with two friends while boarding a flight to Wagga and I apologise for the inconvenience this caused other passengers on the flight," he said.
Nine will also be covering the World Cup final on July 14, the Women's Ashes series, beginning July 2, and the men's Ashes series, beginning August 1.
FULL LIST OF ICC GLOBAL BROADCAST TEAM TO BE USED BY CHANNEL 9
All-time great batsman Kumar Sangakkara
Australian World Cup winning captain Michael Clarke
Former England captain Nasser Hussain
Influential ODI batsman Sourav Ganguly
Leading female commentator and 2 x World Cup winner Melanie Jones
All-time great fast bowler Wasim Akram.
One of the games' greatest all-rounders Shaun Pollock
Former England captain and broadcaster Michael Atherton
English sports broadcaster Alison Mitchell
Former New Zealand captain and explosive batsman Brendon McCullum
Legendary opening batsman and former South African captain Graeme Smith
Dynamic opening batsman Michael Slater
Experienced broadcaster and host Mark Nicholas
West Indian great Michael Holding
World cup winner Isa Guha
The voice of New Zealand cricket Ian Smith