Australian news July 20, 2011

Haddin, O'Keefe join Sydney Sixers

ESPNcricinfo staff

Brad Haddin and Steve O'Keefe have joined a growing list of New South Wales and Australia players to sign with the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League. The SCG-based side has now locked in 13 players, seven of whom have played for Australia, and all but one of whom are current New South Wales players.

"Brad is a quality player and someone who will play a big part in our squad as a senior player," Stuart Clark, the general manager of the Sixers, said. "He brings a competitive edge and a winner's outlook to our group of players, as well as dangerous hitting ability at the top of the order. I think he is a great fit for the Sixers."

Haddin's signing came a day after the Sixers also secured the services of Shane Watson, but both men are likely to be busy with international commitments for much of the BBL campaign. However, Haddin said he was keen to be part of a successful Sixers outfit whenever Australia's schedule allowed.

"I have known Stuart a long time and I think that he has assembled a very talented squad," Haddin said. "I look forward to being part of that group of players and helping to develop a winning culture. With the freshness of the competition and the high level of interest I think it will generate, I can't wait to be part of what I think will be a strong team."

O'Keefe played for Kochi Tuskers Kerala during the Indian Premier League, and spent time learning from the Sri Lankan spin maestro Muttiah Muralitharan.

"I think the BBL is a great concept and becoming part of the Sydney Sixers is a real honour," O'Keefe said. "You only have to look at the list of names that have been recruited, to understand that the squad has a stack of quality, and great depth.

"Playing cricket for the Sixers at the Sydney Cricket Ground, was a real drawcard, and I can't wait to join a highly talented group of players. I think the squad has a great combination of youth and experience, and I look forward to getting together with the guys".

The Sixers are the only side not to have yet signed an overseas player, instead focusing on local talent. Watson said the lack of international stars available during December and January had made it difficult to find an overseas player, but the Sixers could still succeed with a heavily Sydney-based roster.

"The hardest thing for getting imports is finding the right person who's not playing international cricket around that period," Watson said on Fox Sports on Tuesday. "It's been a little bit of a headache for Stuart Clark and the team to get the right overseas players but in the end we're lucky in Australia and at the Sydney Sixers to have the strength and quality of the Australian players we do have. We don't necessarily need a big star overseas signing."

Of the 13 Sixers players so far confirmed, Watson, Haddin, O'Keefe, Steven Smith, Brett Lee, Mitchell Starc, Moises Henriques and Josh Hazlewood have all played for Australia. The only non-New South Wales man in their group is the opener Ed Cowan, who played for the Blues before moving to Tasmania two years ago.