Michael Slater has broken his silence to deny a rumour following his axing from Channel 7.
It emerged last week Slater had been let go by the network just months out from the start of the 2021-22 Ashes series.
It was reported Slater’s infamous public challenging of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this year at least partly contributed to his exit.
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Slater has served on Channel 7’s commentary team since the free-to-air broadcaster secured the cricket rights in 2018, but network executives said budgetary reasons resulted in Slater failing to have his contract extended, as first revealed by The Daily Telegraph.
Slater has now said publicly he suspects his comments about Morrison “could have had a link” to his departure from Seven.
The 50-year-old said in May, Morrison had “blood on his hands” over the border restrictions that blocked Australians from returning from India at the time.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Slater has now rejected rumours his behaviour away from the spotlight contributed to his sacking.
The rumours include a physical altercation with David Warner — something denied by both parties — while they stayed in the Maldives awaiting clearance to return to Australia in May.
In 2019, Slater was also removed from a flight following claims of a heated argument with airline staff.
Slater says he now regrets his comments about Morrison, but says he won’t apologise to Morrison.
“I didn’t want to be disrespectful,” he said of his public attack.
“I was highly emotional and people know I handle things differently.
“I was feeling completely overwhelmed.
“If I had my time again, bearing in mind it could have had a link to what’s just happened to me at Channel 7, no I wouldn’t do it again.”
Slater tweeted at the time: “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 quarantine system.
“I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect.
“And for those who think this is a money exercise. Well forget it. This is what I do for a living and I have not made a penny having left early. So please stop the abuse and think of the thousands dying in India each day. It’s called empathy. If only our government had some!”
The controversial outburst reportedly did not sit comfortably with fellow cricketers or Channel 7 executives at the time.
Morrison responded by saying it was “absurd” for Slater to accuse him of having “blood” on his hands.
Slater played 74 Tests and 42 one-day internationals for Australia, scoring 6299 runs and 14 centuries.
Before joining Channel 7’s team three years ago, Slater worked alongside Richie Benaud and Bill Lawry as part of the Channel 9 commentary team.