6-35 in both the innings, 12 crucial wickets against a mighty team like India and what adds to it? Playing against India in India. The Indian batsmen are great players of spin but what did it for Steve O’Keefe? What made him the talk of the town? Well, there’s a lot to talk about this guy.
Let’s talk about turning the ball, the Indian spinners in the likes of Ashwin and Jadeja have turned the ball quite impressively. Despite producing so much turn from the wicket, the Indian spinners couldn’t pick wickets, at least at the right moments. While on the other hand, O’Keefe! He scalped 12 out of the 20 wickets.
Quite impressive for a first timer in India, right? O’Keefe failed to produce so much turn but he found the edge of the Indian batter’s quite consistently by turning it sharp. O’Keefe’s success isn’t overnight. He planned it long and hard. O’Keefe is a well-known spinner in the domestic circuit. He is a 32-year-old has more than 250 scalps to his name in first class cricket but made a little late entry to International cricket.
There are few legends behind O’Keefe’s success in Pune. The Australian spinner trained intensively in Dubai with the legendary international spinners who have made their mark in India. Rangana Herath, Monty Panesar, and Daniel Vettori have imparted techniques to O’Keefe from their experience in India.
Despite the Australian spinner not being considered as a threat to the hosts, he turned the game for his team. The spinner worked on his abilities and how to bowl in Indian conditions by seeking help from the legendary spinners.
Monty Panesar who was a part of the winning England team in India in 2012, helped the 32-year old spinner work on his previous experience. O’Keefe played in India for Australia A in 2015. He already bowled to the likes of Kohli, Pujara and Rahul on a spin-friendly track in Chennai. O’Keefe’s hard work has helped him prove his mettle. However, O’Keefe justified his selection over the experienced young spinner, Ashton Agar by performing quite well in his very first opportunity. In spite of Agar’s previous experience in India, O’Keefe was preferred.