Test Cricket News: Nine finalises their UK 2023 Ashes coverage line-up ahead of the First Test starting on Friday 16th June
Here it is!! Nine has just finalised their UK Ashes line-up this morning ahead of the upcoming five-Test showdown that will begin in three weeks’ time from Friday 16th June.
Roz Kelly will be back to anchor the chair at their studios in Sydney as always who has a great connection with the game through none other than her husband & former South African fast bowler Morne Morkel (he won’t be joining Roz though since they have responsibilities to look after themselves & their two boys as a family together).
While we all know that Mark “Tubby” Taylor will be on the ground to commentate for host broadcaster Sky Sports just for this tour while contributing to some part of Nine’s coverage on-site, it’s great to see fellow longtime Nine cricket pundit Ian Healy return as one of their few studio analysts alongside Roz.
Now he might not be everyone’s favourite person to listen to as most cricket fans in Australia would know during Nine’s final years with the game back in 2013-18, but he’s a great keeper back in his day particularly to the late Shane Warne on occasions with his leg spin – who will provide some great insight while reuniting with Tubbs virtually along the way.
Plus, Callum Ferguson (ex-Batsman) & Steven O’Keefe (ex-left arm spinner) are back following their contribution to Nine’s T20 World Cup coverage in Australia last year. And we welcome former big hitting batsman Aaron Finch into the team, having done some commentary stints following his retirement lately elsewhere.
So that rounds up Nine’s studio side in Sydney as it’s likely that a few of these pundits being mentioned there will be in rotation & may not appear in every Test throughout the six-week tour since they’re all freelance unlike Tubby & Roz. Speaking of freelance, Louise Ransome will be reporting on the ground alongside Tubby who now lives in London & also has a great knowledge of sports too. Hope we will get to see more of Louise later this year for Nine/Stan Sport during the upcoming Rugby World Cup this September-October in France where we could see her reunite with main commentator Sean Maloney as well as ex-Wallabies players Drew Mitchell & of course Stephen Hoiles.
Nine’s UK Ashes line-up isn’t complete just yet when it comes to the women’s ashes line-up. Rugby League reporter Emma Lawrence will be up all night at times alongside recently retired Rachel Haynes & Ellyse Villani, both of whom will provide punditry with Emma also from their studios in Sydney. I do wish one of them (Haynes or Villani) could join the men’s coverage since nearly all of the other main cricket coverage these days do involve 1-2 female on-air talent, but they got Roz onboard anyway as hoping there will not be too many complaints over the next month and a half.
Then moving forward after The UK Ashes tour, Nine only has the Men’s 50-Over Cricket World Cup coming up as their FTA partner alongside Foxtel later this October-November over in India where we will likely see a similar studio line-up like the T20 World Cup last year of Roz, Tubby, Steven & Callum. After that, we’ll just have to wait & see since the Domestic summer rights are locked up by Seven & Fox until at least 2031. We could see Nine giving up the ICC rights to Seven if Fox stays on or maybe go all-in now they’ve got Stan Sport now as their own paid streaming subsidiary depending on the length of the next TV deal whether if it’s 4 of 8 years. Otherwise, we could see Nine airing another UK Ashes tour for 2027 while looking to steal the annual England cricket content away including The Hundred T20 comp from Foxtel & have it aired only on Stan Sport.