Disappointed O’Keefe quits

SYDNEY (Agencies): Australia’s Steve O’Keefe, whose 12 wickets for 70 runs against India in a 2017 test remains the best figures by a visiting spinner, quit first class cricket on Sunday after New South Wales opted not to retain him.

O’Keefe was the leading wicket-taker among spinners in the recent Sheffield Shield season, which triggered speculation about a possible test recall for the 35-year-old. “I was disappointed when I was told that I wasn’t getting a contract but I respect and accept the decision, so I have decided to retire from first class cricket,” the left-arm spinner said in a statement.

O’Keefe said it had been a “privilege” to play for his country and to captain his state. He would miss the camaraderie the most, he added. “When I think about my time playing cricket, that’s what I’ll miss most,” added O’Keefe, who will continue to play for Sydney Sixers in the T20 Big Bash League.

One of the 13 spinners Australia have employed to fill the void left by Shane Warne’s 2007 exit, O’Keefe played nine tests between 2014-17, claiming 35 wickets. Twelve of them came in the 2014 Pune test alone, where he claimed six wickets in each innings to help Australia to a comprehensive victory.

“He is one of the most successful spinners ever to play for NSW, which earned him Australian selection and the captaincy of the Blues,” NSW chief executive said. “On behalf of Cricket NSW I’d like to thank Steve for his great service to NSW and Australian cricket.”