Australia in Sri Lanka 2011 August 1, 2011

O'Keefe chases higher honours via Twenty20

ESPNcricinfo staff

Australia's most statistically accomplished spin bowler, Steve O'Keefe, is intent on pressing his case for limited overs and Test match consideration during the tourists' two Twenty20 matches against Sri Lanka.

In 14 first-class matches, O'Keefe has winkled out 52 wickets at 24.05, yet has been ignored by the national selectors for all but the briefest of formats, in which he took 3-29 on his debut against Pakistan last year.

The selection of Nathan Lyon and Michael Beer has been considered by some to be a slight on O'Keefe, but he preferred to view it as a sign that in selection terms, anything was now possible.

"Definitely. I think every time you play, it's a bit of an audition, isn't it?," O'Keefe told AAP in Colombo. "Sometimes, if you do well in any sort of form for Australia, it can translate in all sorts of forms so, any time you get to wear [Australian colours], you're on show."

O'Keefe has watched Lyon bowl, and said the South Australian-based off spinner had all the attributes of a classical slow bowler.

"He's a beautiful bowler when you watch him go," O'Keefe said. "He gets it up and over and one of the best natural spinners I've seen around in the country for a long time. He's got a good head on his shoulders which I think will serve him in good stead if he gets his opportunity to play."

While O'Keefe's time in Sri Lanka will be short, the time spent training ahead of Saturday's first T20 match against the Sri Lankans will be enthusiastically undertaken by one of the more personable cricketers in Australia.

"It's changing times that you come away and you're here for two weeks for these games that go for three hours but, in saying that, the intensity of training is quite tough," O'Keefe said. "The training that we did today for fielding, it doesn't get much tougher and I think you can definitely take your skills up a notch by working around these guys.

"There's a lot of benefits besides the two games. You get to surround yourself with the best players in the world and play up to their level. It's a great forum to showcase your skills."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jonesy2 on August 3, 2011, 10:21 GMT

    this guy i like more and more everyday he will playing in the baggy green by the south africa tour i think

  • dummy4fb on August 3, 2011, 1:41 GMT

    about time people talk about o'keefe. this guy is a terrific cricketer. can bat well, has taken some brilliant catches in the field and has performed everytime against every opponents he has faced with the ball. was the best player in the Aus A game v england, was the best player against sri lanka and is the best spinner in shield cricket. Dont know what the selectors are looking at. Maybe peter bourke is right. the selectors think they have world class batsman when they see these spine bowlers averaging 50, the only problem is the 50ave is with ball in hand not bat.

    Go o'keefe. ps. my 10 year old daughter thinks your cute.

  • hyclass on August 3, 2011, 0:09 GMT

    There is strong anecdotal evidence available to suggest that O'Keefe is a victim of CA's desperate attempts to abandon traditional cricket,cricketers and methodologies in headlong support of BBL 20/20.Nielsen made it clear that CA was looking for a single spinner to take them forward in all three formats.That can only mean prioritising 20/20 over test cricket.Every longer format supporter has felt abandoned by CA and the shocking results have supported a growing groundswell against them,resulting in the Argus Review.After the review was announced,there was a mad rush to get BBL into being,a year ahead of schedule.Haydens defection from the CA and Queensland Cricket Boards gave the strong impression of someone trying to make fast money from inside board knowledge by buying into a BBL franchise.This impression was amplified by his nominating no interest in any cricket other than that of the 2 big 20/20 tv rights supporters-India and England.CA has blamed us for its financial woes.

  • dummy4fb on August 2, 2011, 14:21 GMT

    hyclass; Well said mate haven't me much to put across other than I don't think he needs to change his name he is from NSW so strange he wasn't already in the side, he just needs one really poor year to get into the Australian Camp. Australian Cricket is in a poor state not because of the players we have around the country but because of Cricket Australia, the fans of cricket have had enough of CA and would love a full clean out and going by most of what you can read from the players they have no idea where they stand and scratch there heads everytime the sides are read out.

  • dutchy on August 2, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    I love the comments for this article - our selection of spinners has been appalling over the past year or so. The Greg Chappell touch!

  • VivGilchrist on August 2, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    Statistically he is almost twice as good as the next Aussie spinner. His best bowling of 7-35 was against Sri Lankan batting. He also averages 36 with the bat, which would make him possibly the best no8 in world cricket, leaving Johnson at 9 giving Aus a very deep batting line-up. Could also bat at 7 pushing Haddin up to 6 if they choose to play an extra bowler on the Sri Lankan "roads". I don't understand the logic of Hilditch.

  • RandyOZ on August 2, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    I simply cannot understand the logic in playing someone in an Australia A game last year, him doing well, and then not bothering to play him in Zimbabwe. I just assumed he was a shoe in for SL and that's why they didn't pick him in Zmibabwe. Lyon may come good but Beer simply has to make way for O'Keefe.

  • Okakaboka on August 2, 2011, 4:29 GMT

    @hyclass...You are spot on here regarding O'Keefe, Hodge, etc. I don't get it and cannot rationalize his omission. My best explanation is that Hilditch picks Half-tracker Krejza and company because they lead to satellite disruption and Hildtitch has shares in the Satellite repair company. When is he going to be sacked so Australian Cricket can start rebuilding!

  • Meety on August 2, 2011, 3:58 GMT

    @youngkeepersdad - well he sort of has got a trip to SL, just not the DURATION we wanted! LOL! Merv Hughes said the same thing when Beer got selected for the 4th Test @ Melbourne. By rights O'Keefe by virtue of the fact he played (& did well) in the Oz A game against the Poms, should of been next in line. Oh & I've now just read your next post - oops! @hyclass - maybe he (O'Keefe) should invite Warnie around for a game of Poker, & offer him a case of VB if he could name drop him at Cric Oz HQ!!!!!!!!!

  • hyclass on August 2, 2011, 0:10 GMT

    O'Keefe sounds like a top bloke.I think hes dreaming thinking that they will let him in.If 7/35 against Sri Lanka and 4/66 against england wasnt enough,while bowlers with no experience or credentials of any kind are selected,what is it he expects to do to promote his own cause?This is the age of,'Poor or no form gets you selected' and ,'Plucking the unknown in search of a champion to glorify our memory'.Maybe he should change his name and take up right arm bowling.

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