Bengaluru, May 30: Bill Lawry, the synonym of entertainment is back, though in a different role.
The Australian cricket summer's voice for nearly 40 years, had decided to hang up the microphone after Fox Sports and Seven Network won the broadcast rights of cricket coverage in Australia, thereby breaking Channel Nine's four-decade old monopoly.
Despite Fox Sports and Seven Network officials reaching out to Lawry to continue in the new set up, the left-handed opener, who was once known as the 'corpse with the pads on' for his dour-defensive ways at the crease, decided to stay loyal with Nine Network, which hired him during the Kerry Packer days.
Lawry's trademark "Got 'im Yeahhh!", "Its all happening", "Dear, oh dear", "Clean as a whistle," has been part of our drawing rooms for many years. He has been invariably referred to as the 'Voice of MCG' and not a single Boxing Day Test match at Melbourne has not started with the Victorian over the microphone calling the first ball.
And as one thought that it is all going to end this summer, after Lawry refused the Fox Sports and Seven Network offer, comes the news that Channel Nine have given their trusted lieutenant a new contract.
According to reports in Australian media, Lawry along with compatriot and fellow commentator Ian Chappell have both signed new contracts with Channel Nine.
As part of the deal, the 'deadly duo' would continue to provide insights of the game through the Wide World of Sports website.
Talking about the deal, the former Australian captain spoke with the same child-like enthusiasm which has captivated the audience for nearly 40 years.
"I'm really looking forward to it," the 81-year-old was quoted as saying in Wide World of Sports.
"After 41 wonderful years in the commentary box that particular part of the journey is over, but it's great to continue on with the same group of people who've been so good to me over such a long period of time.
"I'm definitely not retiring!," added Lawry.
Chappell, who is known for his sharp-tounged comments echoed Lawry's sentiments.
"It will be fascinating," Chappell was also quoted as saying in Wide World of Sports.
"I had a wonderful stint in the commentary box, and the last couple of years were as enjoyable as any in that period.
"But it's great to still be part of the Nine family," Chappell added.
Channel Nine CEO Hugh Marks said it was an easy decision to make and showered encomiums on the entertaining duo.
"Bill (Lawry) and Ian (Chappell) have given our great company 40 years of terrific service. It's only fitting that we continue our professional and personal relationship with Bill and Ian, and through them, their families who have also sacrificed so much over the past four decades," Marks said.
(With inputs from Agencies).