On the look, both channels have a fairly simple score presentation with the featuring down the bottom of the screen. The feature all the important information such as run rate and overs while still being simple enough for test Cricket. Fox’s features more colour while features a nice theme song similar to Channel 9’s classic score. 7 has featured Trent Copeland analysis segments throughout the coverage which have good intentions but seem unnecessary compared to the analysis that the likes of Ponting and Fleming provides throughout normal play. Fox obviously has more Cricket and thus a bigger emphasis on their presentation. They win this round but it will be interesting to see how both channels progress with the summer and Big Bash season.
Both have diverse commentary teams featuring new and old commentators in the role. While splitting up the likes of Gilchrist and Ponting while bring over Tim Lane and Kerry O’Keefe from radio has taken some adjusting, both channels have seemed to assembled refreshing line-ups. On the 7 side, Ponting is clearly the star bringing over his experience over from Channel 10’s big bash coverage. His insight to the test game is fascinating and is complement well by Lane and his former teammate Glenn McGrath most of the time. Fleming can be a bit hit and miss and Slater is a bit better now he’s not with the Channel 9 crew. Allison Mitchell has been a good addition coming from the BBC. Mel McLaughlin and James Brayshaw are good in small dose’s but Brayshaw still has a tendency to over hype things that don’t need hyping. The other commentators are fine without making a massive impact. On the Fox Cricket side, it’s headlined by Shane Warne who’s had his fair share of interesting comments in his short time at fox. Although Warney obviously knows a lot about Cricket, he finds a hard time being silent and has a need to comment on everything that is happening even if it isn’t interesting or useful. Gilly is great as always as is Allan Border. The big difference though is the inclusions of Isha Guha and Kerry O’Keefe. Both have good knowledge of opposition teams and the Australian team with Isha commentating all around the world. O’Keefe can be over the top trying to be funny but some may like that. Mark Waugh and Mark Howard are pretty much the same from their time on the big bash so your opinions of them probably won’t change. Mike Hussey, Brendon Julian and Michael Vaughan round the main commentary team but we likely see more through out the summer. Channel 7 wins this round due to the freshness of the broadcasters and what the likes of Ponting has brought over.
Fox Cricket seems to be the host broadcast with the DRS, coin toss and match presentations being done by the pay-tv broadcaster. Fox obviously has the advantage of no ads over Channel 7 and it can get tiring quickly watch 7 if you have Fox when you see the same ads over and over again knowing you can just switch over. Fox has more pre-match and post-match coverage with Cricket 360 proceeding each days play as well as other Cricket shows and documentaries. Both Channels have their own analysis features including Fox’s ‘Comet’ ball pitching tool and their ‘listening’ mode where there is no commentary and stump mic is turned up. 7’s coverage has been a bit more basic but has featured exclusive interviews with Australian Bowling coach David Saker and field coach Brad Haddin through out the coverage. Overall we’re giving this round to Fox Cricket mainly for the no ads but also the better small features due to bigger budget.
Fox narrowly wins this contest. Both channels have pros and cons in their coverage and wanting to listen your personal favourite commentators will likely be the biggest decider for you but having no ads and has a better ‘summer feel’ with more shows, features and Cricket. However, if you don’t have Foxtel, Channel 7 is still a great option minus the odd hiccup.