‘He is a brawler, he’s a fighter’: Warner to join Fox commentary team on retirement

Fox Sports has signed David Warner as a commentator, whenever he retires, to help fill the void left by the passing of Shane Warne and Andrew Symonds.

“It’s not possible to replace Shane and Andrew,” Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany said at the SCG on Tuesday during a $1.5 billion television rights deal partnership announcement with Channel Seven. “We’ve thought long and hard about what we might do with the coverage.”

David Warner celebrates his double century during the Boxing Day Test.Credit:Getty Images

While there is no expectation Warner, 36, will retire soon, particularly given his courageous 200 during the Boxing Day Test against South Africa, Foxtel was keen to lock him in.

“I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to join the Fox Cricket team,” Warner said. “I look forward to making an impact where I can over the next 12 months. I’ll continue to play and it’s great to know that once I finish my career, I’ll still be involved in the game that I love, and the game that has given me so much.”

Warner has had a tumultuous summer. The opener struggled against the West Indies and also withdrew his application to challenge a lifetime leadership ban from Australian cricket, because he wanted to avoid a public hearing about the 2018 Newlands scandal.

Australia’s former vice captain and now Fox commentator Adam Gilchrist.Credit:Getty

“I think adding a commentator from the current crop [of players] to replace those two, you’d probably have to say Dave Warner is the name. He is a brawler, he’s a fighter. He’s exciting,” Delany said.

After the third and final Test against South Africa, beginning at the SCG on Wednesday, Warner will play a handful of Big Bash games for Sydney Thunder. Fox is expected to use him as part of its BBL coverage.

Warner was a promotional ambassador for Fox Sports’ streaming service Kayo before his contract was upgraded.

Test captain Pat Cummins and women’s stars Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry are Fox ambassadors. Nathan Lyon has a fluid arrangement with Fox.

Commentator Adam Gilchrist, Australia’s former vice captain, believes Warner will bring plenty of energy to the commentary box.

“With current and recently retired players, the energy you pick up is really apparent,” Gilchrist said.

“I just know, when you’re out of the game a little while, it’s always great to have someone who’s really involved just to make sure of our observations, or learn the new facets of the game and the way they’re thinking. It’s really vitally important for broadcast coverage to try and utilise that.”

Gilchrist recalled a Big Bash game, more than a decade ago, when Warner played for the Thunder while wearing a microphone.

“He basically talked through the whole innings of 50 off about 25 balls,” Gilchrist said. “It was quite ground-breaking with that access at the time… It was really insightful.

“I’ll always remember his ability to articulate what he was thinking was really on point. And he’s been in the thick of the game in every format, in a period of time in the last 10 years where, as we all know, the landscape has changed so much.

“So to have that knowledge and experience coming up into the broadcast, primarily for us to keep learning as a broadcast unit – but more so for the fans out there to be able to tap into that, is really exciting.

General manager of Fox Cricket, Mat Weiss said Fox Sports had “ridden the bumps with David, the highs and low”.

“We’ve got to know him quite well,” Weiss said. “We’ve had him into the studio a number of times. He’s been terrific with player access on match days.”

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