Australian news October 20, 2010

Steve O'Keefe to captain New South Wales

ESPNcricinfo staff

The spin-bowling allrounder Steve O'Keefe will captain New South Wales for the first time after being named to stand in for Stuart Clark against Sri Lanka this Sunday. The Blues have looked to the future by appointing O'Keefe, 25, who will guide a side including the veteran fast man Brett Lee.

The 50-over match is one of three warm-up games for the Sri Lankans before they begin their series of one Twenty20 and three ODIs against Australia. New South Wales will rest Clark, Brad Haddin, Phil Jaques and Trent Copeland, leaving plenty of less experienced names to take the field under O'Keefe.

The left-armer O'Keefe, who made his Twenty20 international debut against Pakistan in July, was the Man of the Match in the recent Ryobi Cup win over Western Australia. His appointment continues the trend of New South Wales testing the captaincy talents of young men, after Moises Henriques led the Blues for the first time last summer.

The game will also mark the first state appearance for Phillip Hughes this summer after his return from Australia's Test tour of India. Peter Nevill will replace Haddin behind the stumps and the batsman Tim Cruickshank will make his debut for New South Wales. The match will be played as 12-a-side, with 11 to bat and 11 to field.

New South Wales squad Phillip Hughes, Nic Maddinson, Usman Khawaja, Peter Forrest, Tim Cruickshank, Ben Rohrer, Steve O'Keefe (capt), Peter Nevill (wk), Sean Abbott, Brett Lee, Scott Coyte, Mark Cameron.