International cricket will have a different soundtrack this summer after Channel Nine today confirmed former Test captains Michael Clarke and Kevin Pietersen will join the Wide World of Sports commentary team.
Clarke and Pietersen replace outgoing Australia pair Mike Hussey and Brett Lee, while former first-class batsman and AFL pundit James Brayshaw has not been re-signed.
Veteran presenter Mark Nicholas returns as host, with commentary stalwarts Mark Taylor, Ian Healy, Michael Slater, Ian Chappell and Shane Warne to mentor newcomers Clarke and Pietersen.
The team is set to saddle up for one of the biggest international summers in recent memory.
South Africa kick things off with a three-Test Commonwealth Bank series, which starts in Perth on November 3, travels to Hobart and culminates in a day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval on November 24.
Bupa Support Team Head Coach Darren Lehmann expects the Proteas to come out with all guns blazing as they aim for a hat-trick of series wins on Australian soil.
"The South African side is a quality side, they’ve obviously got some experience, they’ve got some young players, they’ve got some exciting players," Lehmann said.
"And both countries have that ‘lock horns’ mentality; they're not going to ask for any favours.
"It's going to be certainly hard on the field and I would imagine it would be quite fiery at different stages throughout the Test series.
"So that’s going to be the exciting thing, how (both teams) adapt.
"Both are going to have quality bowling attacks, it’s how the batters play more so than anything else and we have to make sure we make in-roads into their batting early."
Steve Smith’s men then face New Zealand in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy, a three-match one-day international series from December 4-9 before Pakistan land in Australia for three-Tests.
The first Test against Pakistan at the Gabba will be the summer’s second day-night five-day fixture, with traditional blockbusters – the Boxing Day Test at the MCG and the New Year’s Test in Sydney – set to follow.
The summer concludes with five ODIs against Pakistan (starting January 13) and three T20 internationals between Australia’s men and Sri Lanka (from February 17), and three T20Is between the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars and New Zealand commencing .
“Summer is in the air, the cicadas are sounding, and that means it’s time for international cricket,” Nine’s Director of Sport Tom Malone said.
"Our commentators and production team are primed to give viewers the best seat in the house all summer long.”
Cricket.com.au will carry extensive highlights of each day’s play and fans will also be able to watch every ball of Nine’s coverage on their phone, tablet or PC with the Cricket Australia LIVE Pass streaming subscription.