5: 29 AM GMT
Daniel BrettigAssistant editor, ESPNcricinfo
- Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates again to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the household lounge room to circulation attempting the close of day-night World Series matches nicely previous bedtime. Unapologetically fervent about indie tune and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel’s chief cricketing success became once to brush off Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Gross sales arrangement within the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth – a uncommon Australian victory that summer.
Steve O’Keefe, statistically the most efficient fingerspinner in Australian home cricket since Ashley Mallett, has ended his Sheffield Shield career following Recent South Wales’ resolution no longer to give him a contract for subsequent summer.
Now no longer since Mallett’s 344 wickets at 23.75 for South Australia within the 1960s, 70s and early 80s has an orthodox scurry bowler taken wickets as often or cheaply as O’Keefe’s 224 at 25.01 in 71 Shield matches for NSW. His first-class dispute, including 9 Assessments for Australia between 2014 and 2017, seen O’Keefe safe 301 wickets at 24.66. Amongst NSW scurry bowlers, he sits on the again of most efficient Greg Matthews, Stuart MacGill, Richie Benaud and Johnny Martin.
O’Keefe, 35, will continue to play for the Sydney Sixers within the Enormous Bash League and Manly-Warringah in Sydney grade cricket, however the NSW hierarchy elected no longer to give him one other deal at a time when the Shield-winning state are looking out for to rejuvenate their scurry-bowling division.
It will peaceable be acknowledged, too, that O’Keefe’s spotty disciplinary dispute – he once played a Test for Australia in Bangladesh when suspended from NSW responsibility as a consequence of his unfortunate behaviour on the 2017 close of season awards night – would possibly maybe well most likely occupy contributed to the resolution to appear at in other directions.
“I became once dissatisfied when I became once instructed that I wasn’t getting a contract but I appreciate and accumulate the resolution, so I occupy determined to retire from first-class cricket,” O’Keefe acknowledged. “I may eternally be grateful to Lee [Germon, the Cricket NSW chief executive] and the final employees, from the front office to the warehouse to the pattern officers in regional areas, who occupy all shared the identical ardour for the game.
“They’ve played a huge position in making the final 15 years so memorable. And, unnecessary to yelp, I am indebted to the followers, who supported my left-arm inswingers against their better judgement. On a private stage, I are looking out for to thank my household, as nicely as my manager and friend, Andrew Fraser. They’ve been by my aspect through every little thing and I would possibly maybe well most likely no longer occupy performed this with out them.
“It be been this kind of privilege to play for my nation and captain my state, but above every little thing else, I am most proud to occupy played alongside a couple of of the most efficient blokes I’ve ever met. After I deem my time playing cricket, that’s what I will circulation away out most.”
After playing one Shield sport in 2005-06, O’Keefe did no longer change into a consistent fixture till the 2009-10 season, when his tight and canny left-arm scurry, characterised by tremendous accuracy, refined changes of go and most efficient enough scurry to beat the bat, seen him promptly elevated from state to Australia A ranks. Some felt that he would possibly maybe well most likely were tried in Test matches against England in 2010-11, but O’Keefe persevered an unfortunate time the next season after being prematurely handed the NSW state captaincy in situation of the extensively respected Simon Katich in 2011.
He fell on the again of Nathan Lyon within the queue for world scurry-bowling spots, and persevered his poorest Shield season for NSW in 2011-12 when he would possibly maybe well most likely muster appropriate 9 wickets in seven matches. Then yet again, from that point, O’Keefe became a mannequin of consistency in Shield bowling ranks, by no arrangement yet again averaging more than 31 with the ball in a season, and continuously claiming more than 10 wickets.
His most efficient season in 2013-14 had O’Keefe plucking 41 wickets for the Blues in 10 matches, earning him a situation on Australia’s tour to the UAE to face Pakistan, the build he made a modest Test debut. Two years later O’Keefe regarded to be a long way more suited to the topic of touring Sri Lanka, but a hamstring tension all the very most practical arrangement throughout the main Test in Kandy scuppered his tour appropriate as he looked to be one of many touring group’s most potent threats.
He would return to the group in India in 2017, enjoying the moment of his career as he plucked 12 for 70 to bowl Virat Kohli’s group out in Pune for a memorable victory within the outlet match of the gathering. But his returns dried up over the remainder of the gathering as India fought again to narrate the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. He played all over yet again in Bangladesh later that one year when peaceable banned from the Blues, a resolution no longer regarded upon kindly by many in Australian cricket.
O’Keefe’s final years had been characterised by injuries interspersed with often heroic bowling shows when match, ending with the 2019-20 Shield title in a season truncated by the coronavirus pandemic. “Steve has been a committed and consistent performer for the Blues over a prolonged timeframe,” Germon acknowledged. “He’s one of many most a hit spinners ever to play for NSW, which earned him Australian selection and the captaincy of the Blues.”