Australia news October 12, 2011

Katich relinquishes New South Wales captaincy

ESPNcricinfo staff

Simon Katich has given up the captaincy of New South Wales and the spinner Steve O'Keefe has been appointed in his place. Described as a "succession plan" by Cricket New South Wales, the move was announced on Wednesday but first mooted during the winter, which was already a difficult time for Katich after he lost his Cricket Australia contract.

While his removal from the contract list caused Katich to unleash a well-directed stream of righteous fury at the national game's administrators and selectors, the NSW handover is believed to have been far more orderly, though the final decision took time to be announced and when it was, O'Keefe was in South Africa on Australia Twenty20 duty.

In a statement, Cricket NSW said the Blues were looking to the future by handing the leadership to O'Keefe, 26, who has captained the state side before. However, Australia's captain Michael Clarke will lead New South Wales in his rare state appearances, while Ben Rohrer will take the reins for the opening games of the season with O'Keefe's absence.

"Simon has been an outstanding captain of New South Wales for the past nine years and we are indebted to him for the service he has given in this role," David Gilbert, the chief executive of Cricket New South Wales, said. "When I discussed with him during the winter the need for a captaincy succession plan for the mid to long term, it was typical of the man that he accepted that this was the way forward. His leadership both on and off the field over the past nine years has set the benchmark."

Katich, 36, captained the Blues during their recent Champions League Twenty20 campaign in India but he will be a player only for the rest of this summer. He said he endorsed the decision for O'Keefe to take over.

"Stephen is a talented cricketer and will do an excellent job of leading the side," Katich said. "I accept and respect the decision to appoint a new captain with an eye to the future."

The move brings to an end Katich's long reign as captain, during which he led the Blues to the 2007-08 Sheffield Shield title, the 2008-09 Big Bash triumph and the 2009-10 Champions League title. Although they won other silverware during his time in charge, he did not play in the deciders due to his Australian duties.

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  • Dummy4 on October 13, 2011, 13:23 GMT

    They reckon Cricket Australia might have something to do about dumping Katich after his coments about the national selectors.

  • Dummy4 on October 13, 2011, 3:35 GMT

    Great move by NSW. Giving the captaincy to the successor while Katich is still in the side. This gives him a chance to lead the side while still having Katich to be able to assist him in the crunch moments. Also takes the burden of captaincy off Katich allowing him to play his best cricket! Going to be hard to stop the run fest. What will be interesting is the first team has Jacques and Maddison so will he slip into number 3 again or continue opening?

  • Andrew on October 13, 2011, 2:38 GMT

    Refreshing to see a spinner, (or even a bowler for that matter), captain a state side. The REAL surprise for me was Rohrer as stand in. I would of thought Katich could hold the reins until O'Keefe returns? Love seeing a forward progressive state organisation at work. Genuinely beleive Katich appreciated where Gilbert was coming from. Like O'keefe, I thought the Poms made a good choice giving Swanny a go, (in Broads absence), at T20s earlier this year.

  • Warrick on October 13, 2011, 0:39 GMT

    Whoa...didn't see that one coming. Katich is a class act as a cricketer and a person. Hope it goes well for O'keefe.

  • Dummy4 on October 13, 2011, 0:23 GMT

    I like this. It should mean that David Warner will get more opportunities at the top of the order in the longer format. It should also pretty much mean O'Keefe will play every game which can only help his Australian chances.

    Warner, Maddinson, Katich, Rohrer, S Smith, Nevill, O'keefe, Hauritz, Starc, Copeland, Hazlewood.

  • Lou on October 12, 2011, 23:51 GMT

    Very interesting move. They are saying to Kat that he's not an automatic pick and they are making O'Keefe one when he's not in the Aussie squad. I like O'Keefe a lot, I like his attitude on field and his sense of humour when interviewed and I'd rather he was sitting in the Aus T20 and ODI squads than leading NSW. He could do with some work on his catching ability though.It will be interesting to see how the Aus selectors feel about him after this SA tour.

  • Bryn on October 12, 2011, 13:09 GMT

    katich is a true legend. one of the greats. okeefe needs to be in the test team now surely?

  • Michael on October 12, 2011, 12:33 GMT

    Good to see that O'Keefe will be a permanent member of the NSW side, and won't be jostling for a place with Smith. Though, it does mean that Hauritz and Casson may find limited opportunities. Hopefully the selectors will find a place for them.

  • davinder on October 12, 2011, 12:29 GMT

    not a great deal............

  • Randolph on October 12, 2011, 12:23 GMT

    I assumed Argus would be OKeefe straight into the squad. I was wrong.

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