O’Keefe: Spinners' success crucial for Australia to dominate in sub-continent

Steve O’Keefe, the New South Wales left-arm spinner, ended his first-class career recently after being denied a new contract by his state.

After calling it quits, Steve O'Keefe has urged that spinners be given more opportunities to shine. (File Photo)   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

The just-retired Steve O’Keefe has rued that spinners are not allowed to win matches in Australian cricket, saying the country will struggle to dominate in the sub-continent until the issue is not addressed.

O’Keefe, the New South Wales left-arm spinner who took 301 first-class wickets at 24.66 and earned nine Test caps, ended his first-class career recently after being denied a new contract by his state.

After calling it quits, he has urged that spinners be given more opportunities to shine.

ALSO READ|Kane Williamson: Good at heart, great at the game!

“We have so much talent in this country, spin-bowling depth. I look across at the top two spinners in each state that I really think there’s so much quality,” O’Keefe was quoted as saying by ‘ESPNcricinfo’.

“The problem is that they aren’t being encouraged enough to be given a ball in the first ten overs and being told to win a game of cricket. The conditions haven’t allowed them to express themselves.”

On its last Test tour of India, Australia was thrashed by Virat Kohli’s team and even though it came from behind to win an ODI rubber before the 2019 World Cup, the Aussies finished second best in the 50-over face-offs earlier this year.

ALSO READ| Hafeez, Malik should retire gracefully: Ramiz Raja

“When you want to win overseas, spinners are the ones who have to win you games. But go back and have a look at Shield cricket.

“I’m the leading wicket-taker this year with 16 wickets and played five games. I’ve not had a match-winning role in any of the games,” O’Keefe said.

“When you go to these places, it’s all on your spinners; they have got to be people who are mentally tough and have the skill. It is a matter of urgency, if we are going to win over there to make sure we encourage these guys.”

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

  Dugout videos