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Summer slips to silence as Bill Lawry bids adieu

Bill Lawry

Bengaluru, May 14: Close to four decades, Bill Lawry had been Australia's cricket summer's voice. "Got 'im Yeahhh!". "Its all happening". "Dear, oh dear". "Clean as a whistle," The Boxing Day Test match cannot be imagined without Lawry's excited-as-a-school-kid voice.

Even when the former Australian Test captain was not at the pink of his health, he had continued to remain the 'Voice of Melbourne'.

Boxing Day and Bill Lawry... Bill Lawry and Boxing Day... they remained intertwined. It is hard to remember a Test starting at the iconic G without Lawry calling the first ball over the microphone.

But come this summer, Lawry will be missed as the legendary commentator, who is known for his love for pigeons, has decided to call stumps on his stellar career as a broadcaster.

Since the Kerry Packer days, Lawry has been an omnipresent figure in the Channel Nine commentary box. But for the first time in nearly forty years, Channnel Nine's monopoly was broken as cricket coverage in Australia went for a major overhaul with Fox Sports and Seven Network winning the rights to host the cricket matches.

Lawry was possibly the last link to the golden era of Channel Nine commentary team - the late Richie Benaud, Tony Greig and the sharp-tounged Ian Chappell.

Keeping in mind his ever-swelling popularity, there were even reports that Fox's chief executive Patrick Delany and officials from Channel Seven reached out to the 81-year-old to continue his job at least in a part-time role for the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne as well as for the ODIs there.

But according to latest Australian media reports, the octogenarian refused the offer and preferred to hang up his mike. There can never be an entertainer like Lawry.

During his playing days, the left-handed opener was often known as the 'corpse with the pads on' mainly due to his dour defensive ways. But once he swapped the willow with the mike, an altogether different persona of Lawry emerged.

In one recent interview, Lawry was asked as to how he could still manage to generate all that excitement in Test matches despite the growing surfeit of Twenty20s and his reply was spot on.

"In Test matches you might get two wickets in the first two overs, and you only get three wickets on some other days. You've got to make sure when you get those wickets, that everybody at home - if he is outside in the garden - comes in to see what is going on. You want him to say, "What was that noise?" and go in and see a wicket has fallen."

Now, the excitement may not reach the gardens. A different voice? It will be there but excitement and decibel level will be hard to match.

But pigeons around Melbourne will see their patron a whole lot more and hear his voice more regularly - "clear as a whistle."

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    Story first published: Monday, May 14, 2018, 14:36 [IST]
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