Former Australia cricketer Michael Slater has been dropped from the Channel 7 commentary panel ahead of the 2021/22 season. Slater has been on the commentary team since Channel 7 secured free-to-air broadcast rights for in 2018 for a period of six years. The reason behind the non-renewal of Slater’s contract has been budgetary constraints.
“He’s a very talented broadcaster and he’s been a ripping member of our team. It’s more about financial management than anything else and we wish Michael the very best in the future, we really do,” said Channel 7 Head of Sport, Lewis Martin in an interview to The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, business decisions have to be made from time to time and unfortunately we’re not in a position to renew it. He was a very popular member of our team and a very talented broadcaster. I can only expect this will only be a pause (in his career),” added Martin.
The report also said that Slater’s infamous tweets against Prime Minister Scott Morrison in May this year made a partial contribution to his exit from Channel 7. “The outburst did not sit comfortably at the time with fellow cricketers who following the cancellation of the IPL suddenly had the spotlight shone on their time in limbo in the Maldives, or with Seven executives back home,” added the report.
In a series of fierce tweets, Slater controversially accused Morrison of having ‘blood on his hands’ for preventing 40 Australian citizens participating in first half of IPL 2021 to return from India, where the second wave of COVID-19 infections put a halt to the tournament.
“If our Government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home. It’s a disgrace! Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this. How about you sort out the quarantine system. I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect,” read Slater’s tweet that time.
His second tweet read as, “Amazing to smoke out the PM on a matter that is a human crisis. The panic, the fear of every Australian in India is real!! How about you take your private jet and come and witness dead bodies on the street!”
It was followed by, “And did just read greed over common sense! Your government granted me permission to work so I can pay for 3 beautiful children through school and pay a mortgage. So where does common sense lie. Not on my end!”
Morrison had responded then by saying it was ‘absurd’ for Slater to accuse him of having ‘blood on his hands’. To this, Slater replied by saying, “I challenge you to a debate anytime PM.”
Slater played 74 Tests and 42 ODIs for Australia from 1993 to 2001. Before joining Channel 7’s commentary team, Slater was a member of the Channel 9 commentary side.