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Seven unveil new commentary team

Network adds a host of former players and respected callers to their commentary team

Louis Cameron

10 July 2018, 11:30 AM AEST

Australian cricket's new free-to-air broadcaster Channel Seven has added a host of former international stars to its commentary team for the coming summer.

Ex-Australia Test players Lisa Sthalekar, Jason Gillespie, Greg Blewett, Simon Katich and Brad Hodge were all unveiled as expert commentators on Tuesday as the network prepares to broadcast both men's and women's internationals as well as 43 matches of the KFC Big Bash League.

Seven confirmed Bruce McAvaney will form part of their cricket coverage, with the iconic sports broadcaster to host a lunch-break show during the Melbourne and Sydney Tests.

Alison Mitchell, Tim Lane and former South Australia batter James Brayshaw have signed on as ball-by-ball callers for Tests.

Mel McLaughlin and Abbey Gelmi are also on board as hosts, with Seven stating they'll announce further commentary signings closer to the beginning of Australia's home international season.

It follows announcements of former Test stars Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath, Michael Slater and Damien Fleming to Seven's stable in recent weeks.

Ponting signs on with Channel 7

"We are looking forward to the summer of cricket enormously," Seven's head of cricket Dave Barham said. 

"Throughout the coverage, we will be showcasing the players, bringing out their character and personality with more than 30 player features and vignettes. 

"Heartland cricket will also be championed as Seven highlights stories at community level and local cricket. And we’ll do all of this while respecting the history of cricket, now that we are custodians of the sport."

Fox Sports have already secured Adam Gilchrist, Mark Waugh, Shane Warne, Mike Hussey, Michael Vaughan, Mel Jones and Isa Guha, while Allan Border and Brendon Julian have long been associated with the subscription network's cricket coverage.

The new $1.182 billion broadcast deal has seen Seven take over free-to-air rights from the Nine and Ten networks and will broadcast all men's Test matches and all Commonwealth Bank women's internationals.

The Gillette men's one-day and T20 internationals will be shown exclusively on Fox Sports, as will the remaining 16 men's BBL matches not shown on Seven.

Fox will also simulcast the matches that will be broadcast by Seven – all men's Tests, all women's internationals, the 43 BBL matches and 23 WBBL games – as part of a deal that includes a dedicated Fox Sports cricket channel.