Devastated by reactions to my comments, didn’t mean to insult Indian cricketers: Kerry O’Keeffe

first_imgDevastated by reactions to my comments, didn’t mean to insult Indian cricketers: Kerry O’KeeffeIndia vs Australia: Veteran Australian commentator Kerry O’Keeffe said his comments on Mayank Agarwal, and “Cheteshwar Jadeja” were negatively interpreted and opined some fans may not get his sense of humouradvertisement Akshay Ramesh MelbourneDecember 30, 2018UPDATED: December 30, 2018 15:29 IST Kerry O’Keeffe in a an open letter said he has been “devastated” by the reaction to his on-air comments (AP Photo)HIGHLIGHTSKerry O’Keeffe has written an open letter to Team India and its fansO’Keeffe had made an insensitive comment on Mayank Agarwal on Day 1 of the MCG TestHead coach Ravi Shastri and bowling coach Bharat Arun have responded to O’Keeffe commentsFormer Australia crikceter-turned commentator Kerry O’Keeffe has responded to the criticism he has been facing over the controversial comments he had made on air during the course of the Boxing Day Test between India and Australia in Melbourne.In an open letter to India cricket team and its fans, O’Keeffe said he has been “devastated” by the reaction to his on-air comments that are being labelled distasteful and even racist by a section of Indian fans and the media.O’Keeffe also conceded that some of the fans may not be able to “relate to my sense of humour” and that what he meant is “vastly different” from what is being represented in the media.”I have been devastated by the reaction to my on-air comments on Fox Cricket during the recently completed Third Test between Australia and India. I am coming to terms with how negatively those words have been interpreted,” O’Keeffe wrote in his open letter, as quoted by foxsports.com.au.”That interpretation is not who I am. It is not what I represent. My style as a commentator is to attempt to find a quirky view to lighten up some of the serious analysis.”When I made a remark about Indian first-class batting averages within their domestic cricket competition being made against a “canteen” bowling attack, I was being entirely tongue in cheek. I was certainly not disrespecting Indian cricket, where I toured as a schoolboy and for which I have the greatest admiration as a cricketing nation.advertisement”I accept that some fans may not always relate to my sense of humour – but missing the mark on a joke between overs is vastly different to what I’ve been accused of on Twitter and in some sections of the media in recent days.”O’Keeffe’s open letter comes after his comments hit the nerve of the fans and the India dressing room. The veteran commentator had kicked up a storm when he said that debutant Mayank Agarwal’s Ranji Trophy triple ton may have come against “Jalandhar Railway canteen staff” and that the said opposition had bowlers who were “chefs and waiters”.Despite facing severe backlash for his comments, O’Keeffe didn’t stop there as he went on to make distasteful joke about difficulty in pronouncing India players’ names during the Boxing Day Test.Sharing the commentary boxing with legendary Australian cricketer Shane Warne and Mark Waugh, O’Keeffe was heard from behind the mic on Saturday, saying “Why would you name your kid Cheteshwar Pujara?”Insisting that he does extensive research before commentary, O’Keeffe added that he had no intention to ridicule Indian players or the premier domestic tournament of the country.”I pride myself on doing extensive research before a match and when I stumbled over the names of Pujara and Jadeja on Day Four, I took a swipe at myself for getting them wrong,” O’Keeffe added.”There was no intention to ridicule those two wonderful players and I am horrified by any suggestion to the contrary. I had spent months researching and analysing these two players and when the moment arrived, I stuffed it up. The joke was on me.”… 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.”India head coach Ravi Shastri had hit back at O’Keeffe over his comments on Mayank Agarwal. Speaking during a post-day show on Friday, the former captain had said: “He [Mayank] has got a message for Kerry… ‘when you do open your canteen, he wants to come and smell the coffee. He wants to compare it to the ones back in India…coffee here’s better or the ones back home’.”Meanwhile, India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun, who addressed the press after Saturday’s play in Melbourne, said India are hurt by O’Keeffe’s comments but insisted that the team is not thinking about an official complaint against the Australian commentator at the moment.Notably, captain Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah, who won the Man of the Match award for his nine-wicket match haul, talked up India’s first-class cricket after the visitors crushed Australia by 137 runs in Melbourne on Sunday to take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the ongoing four-Test series.advertisementAlso Read | Offensive Aussie commentary hurts but nothing we can do about it: India bowling coachAlso Read | Virat Kohli equals Sourav Ganguly’s record of most overseas Test wins as India captainAlso Read | Jasprit Bumrah scary for opposition batsmen, would not want to face him: Virat KohliFor sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. 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