NSW v WA, Sheffield Shield, Sydney

O'Keefe enhances Test claims

ESPNcricinfo staff

January 24, 2013

Comments: 36 | Text size: A | A

Western Australia 9 for 232 (O'Keefe 3-52) v New South Wales
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Steve O'Keefe took three wickets to help reduce Western Australia to 232 for 9, New South Wales v Western Australia, Sheffield Shield, Sydney, 1st day, January 24, 2013
Steve O'Keefe took three wickets to peg Western Australia back in Sydney © Getty Images

Granted a glimmer of hope for the tour of India when Michael Beer suffered a shoulder injury at training this week, the New South Wales captain Steve O'Keefe did his cause no harm by nabbing three wickets as Western Australia struggled on day one of the Sheffield Shield match at Blacktown Oval.

Sending Michael Hussey's Warriors in to bat appeared a curious call at first, but O'Keefe winkled out the first wicket, that of Marcus Harris, and added two more to ensure the hosts ended the day in control of proceedings.

As significantly, O'Keefe impressed observers with his control and subtle variations, in what was perhaps his most convincing spell at the bowling crease all season. Given the circumstances, this was a strong sign for the national selectors.

It was a well-rounded display by the Blues, for all five bowlers picked up wickets, including Moises Henriques, who arrived after the game had commenced due to his early flight from Hobart where on Wednesday night he had helped Australia to an ODI series tying victory over Sri Lanka.

WA's batsmen struggled for rhythm and occupation in the first match since the end of the BBL, no-one passing 50 despite a quintet of starts. Hussey managed 29 before becoming a victim of Chris Tremain, playing his second first-class match after a debut late last season.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety on (January 25, 2013, 8:05 GMT)

@ brendon_edward on (January 24 2013, 23:39 PM GMT) - dunno whether India's bowling will cause many collapses though.

Posted by Someguy on (January 25, 2013, 3:54 GMT)

If you had a bowling lineup of Henriques, O'Keefe, Siddle/Pattinson, Starc/Johnson, Lyon. You would have 5 bowlers, including 2 spinners without really weakening the batting. I would like to say Steve Smith instead of O'Keefe, but his bowling has really stalled in the last couple of years. Was showing a lot of improvement and then he seems to have stopped working on it to concentrate on his batting, but has no real form with the bat either.

Posted by Someguy on (January 25, 2013, 3:46 GMT)

O'Keefe was the leading wicket taker and leading run scorer against England in the tour match last time they were here and I was amazed that they didn't give him a run. From memory they tried Doherty and Beer instead. Selectors even ignored Hauritz who had taken a 5 wicket haul and scored a century in the last shield match at the WACA and they went for Beer because it was his home ground (even though he had only played there 2-3 times) that series I think. I have no faith in the selectors when it comes to spinners.

Having said that, I don't think Lyon deserves to be dropped. His figures would be much better this summer if Wade wasn't in such horrible form with the gloves.

For India I think SOK and Lyon should bowl with 2 quicks and Henriques. Henriques has been in great form this year and I think he will bowl well in Indian conditions. The batsmen will target him, which will work in his advantage. I give Henriques the start ahead of Watson because Watson can't bowl many overs.

Posted by Meety on (January 25, 2013, 0:57 GMT)

@Chris_P on (January 24 2013, 21:08 PM GMT) - just purely food for thought, but had the Chairmans XI match against SL recently been deemed a FC ficture, Scott Henry would currently have a FC ave of 40! At the moment - mid 20s.

Posted by Meety on (January 24, 2013, 23:59 GMT)

@mick82 on (January 24 2013, 21:54 PM GMT) - Zampa already has bowled an over on his debut, & given Zampa is not playing I doubt that any captain could legally ask him to bowl!

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 24, 2013, 23:35 GMT)

Front-Foot-Lunge; I suggest you look at Swanns average in the Ashes victory in australia. His main contribution was the sprinkler dance. Lyons statistics match up very well against Swann's so the comparison will be made. He certainly performed better against SOuth Africa than Swann. The majority of Lyons tests have been in Australia where no current spinner in the world has a great record.

Posted by Meety on (January 24, 2013, 23:27 GMT)

@Liquefierrrr on (January 24 2013, 22:12 PM GMT) - i also find it hilarious that FFL forgot that one of our "club-standard" spinners (Hauritz), outbowled Swann in the 2009 Ashes in head to head matches. Actually you could even say, he outbowled Swann & Monty combined in 09! I think it is fabulous you got under his skin, good work, but I still prefer to ignore him.

Posted by Rowdy012 on (January 24, 2013, 22:40 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge You talk up Swann like he is a world beater, when in actual fact it is debateable on whether or not he is Englands best spinner. Monty comprehensively outbowled him in India.

On the Aussie side, Lyon must play...has been doing a serviceable job and with a bit of luck could have had a few more wickets. SOK would be a good option to support him, bowls similiar to Jadeja who has been taking wickets of late

Posted by Liquefierrrr on (January 24, 2013, 22:36 GMT)

@mick82 - Zampa certainly won't get a bowl when he isn't in the starting XI mate.

Zampa is a very exciting prospect though, I can't wait to see what he makes of his opportunities, early signs are good.

Smith's bowling in FC has been horrifying in recent seasons, I think he did the right thing by focusing solely on his batting. Gives him a clearer role and more time for much needed batting attention.

Smith took 4 wickets @ 103.5 in 11/12, and has 1 @ 41 this season.

He did the right thing by opting out of bowling for the moment. I still believe he has potential in the shorter formats, and his record backs that.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 24, 2013, 22:26 GMT)

@ Liquefierrrr: Congratulations on your Oscar awarded for the most useless statistic. You're comparing 50 tests/200 wickets +/proven matchwinner/Ashes Hero - G, Swann ... with ... A club-standard seamer (I think Australian cricket calls them 'Spinners' these days), who has never played in a single test match. And will no doubt be yet another Ozzie 'spinner' whose very short career spans less than an Ashes series. That's a long list. Take a bow :)

Posted by Liquefierrrr on (January 24, 2013, 22:12 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge pt. II - also, here is Swann's most recent efforts:

30 wickets @ 36.17 (s/rate 79.67, last 9 tests), 591 runs @ 19.06 (last 31 Tests).

I included his batting as even that is faltering lately. Still a good player, but just proving everything is declining.

Hold on though, Lyon has taken 61 wickets @ 32.16 despite allegedly not turning the ball, so is ultimately superior to the 'biggest turner of the ball in world cricket' in most recent history.

And Swann has just come out of spin-friendly India.

Whilst Australia is longing for a match-winner like Swann, you must be longing for the ability to separate subjective opinion against objective fact.

Again, this isn't to imply Lyon is better than Swann, he isn't and probably never will be, but his numbers in recent history are, and that can't be argued.

Back to the article, I hope O'Keefe can finish off WA and snare another 3 or so in the next innings (and even score some runs!).

C'mon mate, get the job done SOK!.

Posted by mick82 on (January 24, 2013, 21:54 GMT)

While Okeefe is captain, Zampa and Smith wont bowl an over

Posted by Liquefierrrr on (January 24, 2013, 21:18 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge - his FC statistics are actually superior to Swann's in what is a tougher domestic competition, certainly for spinners. So that's an interesting spin. I'm not saying O'Keefe is better, but if his FC stats are better than Swann's, then he's not a bad spinner at all, given how incredible Swann is.

Swann's FC average is 31.88 with the ball, and once you take his English career out, to see what his domestic efforts are, he has taken 474 @ 33.11. O'Keefe also has a superior batting average to Swann, 31.65 vs. 25.68 (26.13 without Tests).

You really need to drop the anti-Australian theme, or at least do your research if you are going to continue. It becomes farcical, and misrepresents what an excellent team England is.

Also - you are entirely absent from articles about England, in particular when they get thrashed by India in 3-straight ODIs. What's your opinion on that? Or the fact England, with a wealth of talent, continue to play Dernbach (another SAF kid). Thoughts?

Posted by Chris_P on (January 24, 2013, 21:08 GMT)

@Meety, a fair call on your suggestions re:batting lineup, but as you know, I have followed SOK's (& NSW's fortunes) for some time & for some obscure reason,he isn't in the mix despite his credentials to date. He is actually a thoughtful cricketer as well & with Beer seemingly out of contention, I am interested in who the selectors will take as the second spinner. @ Jimmyrob83. He bowls darts? Do yourself a favour & go watch him bowl, you don't average sub 30 bowling darts, ask every other spinner in Australian first class cricket.

Posted by Meety on (January 24, 2013, 20:26 GMT)

@Gordo85 on (January 24 2013, 13:51 PM GMT) - I think your harsh on Lyon. Lyon is 1st choice spinner & SO'K is 2nd spinner in a 5/1/5 split in India for me. == == == I think SO'K would do well in India batting at #7 behind Wade. 3 pacers + 2 spinners should be enuff to take 20 wickets - throw in maybe-watson too.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 24, 2013, 19:48 GMT)

@Nerk: "O'keefe is the best spinner in the country."

You've got to be kidding. Is there no one else? What must Australia give for a Graeme Swann. These forthcoming back-to-back Ashes series is going to be another replay of watching the world's long-established biggest turner of the ball in world cricket (Swann), up against another Aussie Seamer, Lyon, who cannot turn a ball if his life depended on it. What a circus of horrors.

Posted by blink182alex on (January 24, 2013, 14:29 GMT)

O'keefe, Beer and Lyon should all be in the test squad. If conditions suit that 2 spinners need to be played then we have a back up if 1 gets injured. Leave Maxwell at home, however the selectors seem to be impressed with Maxwell's single figure batting scores and wicketless bowling in the odi's this year, so he'll probably go.

Posted by steve19191 on (January 24, 2013, 14:09 GMT)

Just returned from my annual months holiday in Australia visiting family. We as always took in a number of games and I am forced to ask this question. Has domestic cricket ever been weaker in Australia than right now ?

Posted by jeauxx on (January 24, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

@whippersnapper: Kurtis Patterson hasn't had a great season in local grade cricket. 2 fifties from 10 innings at an average of 24. He's a great talent but with those numbers it's hard to fit into the side alongside names like Rohrer, Smith, Henriques, Nevill.

Posted by Gordo85 on (January 24, 2013, 13:51 GMT)

To me it looks like O'Keefe will almost certainly get picked in the squad. I really hope that Nathan Lyon doesn't get picked because he isn't doing enough currently.(If you want to loose in India you would pick Lyon) But I don't really want them to pick Doherty either but I think Doherty as a Test player is nearly all over.(but I won't fully write him off yet)

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (January 24, 2013, 13:17 GMT)

plus lyon and okeefe make a good left right arm combo, england employed this technique to beat india, the selectors picking three pace bowlers and one spinner will do so at their own peril

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (January 24, 2013, 13:14 GMT)

need 2 spinners in india and lyon doesnt spin the ball. his record is getting worse every match after a surprising start

Posted by fazald on (January 24, 2013, 12:14 GMT)

Steve O'Keefe should have been selected into the Australian side three years ago before Lyon and I reckon he would have been a very good spinner by now unlike Lyon who is quite expensive still learning his trade after all these years. He is also a good batsman and a fine fielder. No doubt he would be a great asset to this Australian side which lacks a good spinner who could complement the strong pace attack. When Lyon failed to bowl out South Africa on a spinners wicket in Adelaide to clinch victory the selectors should have been on the look out for someone else. How come this so called rotation policy never came to mind? The test series against India is a very good opportunity to bring in Steve O'Keefe into the side and I am sure he has the potential to be the number one spin bowler for Australia for years to come. If the selectors still keep relying on Lyon and keep ignoring O'Keefe then we can kiss goodbye to the ashes already.

Posted by straightbreakbowler6 on (January 24, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

I was a big fan of Beer going to India as he has bowled well and tight and would complement the Australian attack, but O'Keefe would be a very handy fill in as he bowls tight and fast, fields well and can bat which a long batting line up in India will be inportant. O'Keefe before Doetty for me along with David Hussey gives 3 different types of spinners and batting depth.

Posted by peeeeet on (January 24, 2013, 11:15 GMT)

I'd be tempted to take three spinners to India, knowing that the pitches would turn. I personally feel O'Keefe is a player who could complement the team well as a second spinner and decent lower order bat. Only in the sub-continent though. But I don't think the selectors will pick him. I feel that they'll pick Beer as the second spinner, and Maxwell will be taken to fill the role tht O'Keefe would do better.

Posted by cccrider on (January 24, 2013, 11:12 GMT)

O'Keefe is clearly a much better bowler and cricketer than Lyon. O'Keefe's FC record - runs at 31 average and wickets at 29. Very handy bat and captain. Compare to Nathan's FC runs at 11 and wickets at 39. He should be the first spinner picked but has seemingly annoyed the selectors.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (January 24, 2013, 11:01 GMT)

He should be ahead of Beer anyway. Beers only claim to fame was when Warne dropped his name from obscurity a few seasons back. OKeefe will combine well with Lyon in India and could give Aus the flexibility of playing 5 bowlers with Okeefe possibly batting at 7.

Posted by Nerk on (January 24, 2013, 10:18 GMT)

O'keefe is the best spinner in the country. He has been consistently taking wickets at first class level for a sustained period. Lyon, whilst a good bowler, has not taken the wickets and has averaged nearly 50 this summer. As India will prepare wickets that turn, there is a need to take two spinners. Lyon and O'Keefe would work well together, much like Swan and Panesar did for England. He is not simply a 'round arm darts' bowler, today at Blacktown he changed his pace and flight well, and beat the bat a number of times. As he has put in consistent performances in the Shield over the last two summers, he deserves a chance in India.

Posted by whippersnapper on (January 24, 2013, 10:11 GMT)

It's good to see O'Keefe getting amongst the wickets. He should've been given a chance at test level long ago. I hope he gets the nod for India. Could any of you NSW fans tell me what's going on with Kurtis Patterson? I was looking forward to seeing how this young bloke went this season after his debut 100 against the Warriors last year. Is he injured, out of form in grade cricket or can the Blues just not fit him into their side at the moment? Cheers.

Posted by naren147 on (January 24, 2013, 9:03 GMT)

I saw the match at Blacktown. O'keefe bowled really well. He bowled fast (for a spinner) and still got enough turn to put the batsmen in two minds. The same method Panesar and Swann used against India.

Posted by Boooowled on (January 24, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

Lyon is doing nothing wrong - a better keeper and he'd have got a few more wickets. No reason to take O'Keefe.

Posted by Jimmyrob83 on (January 24, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

O'Keefe bowls round arm darts. No way should he be going to India.

Posted by Mitty2 on (January 24, 2013, 8:11 GMT)

SOK must be the only Australian spinner to have played over 5 first class games and average under 30.. Not to mention his more than decent batting average, and the VCR that he actually turns the ball!! A revelation that beer would not know of.

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