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.
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“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.
“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.”
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