kerry o keefe
Kerry O’Keefe

Kerry O’Keeffe has drawn negative reactions for his remarks on Indian cricketers while commentating on their ongoing tour of Australia. First, he ridiculed Mayank Agarwal’s batting credentials and took a shot at the names of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja after failing to pronounce their names correctly.

He did apologise for his comments against Agarwal but then again courted controversy after asking on-air ‘Why would you name your kid Cheteshwar, Jadeja?’

Now, O’Keeffe has written an open letter on addressed to Indian cricketers and fans clarifying the nature of his comments saying he didn’t intend to disrespect Indian cricket for which he has the “greatest admiration as a cricketing nation.”

He wrote the reaction to his ‘quirky view’ to lighten up serious analysis has devastating and wrongly interpreted.

“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,” O’Keeffe wrote. “I am coming to terms with how negatively those words have been interpreted. 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.”

He continued, “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. 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.

“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. My family and I are shocked and saddened that so many have been upset.

“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.”