O’Keefe fit and firing for Sri Lanka tour


Australia spinner Steve O'Keefe has recovered from the broken finger he suffered in February, and says he has never been fitter and is eager to be part of the tour to Sri Lanka in July.

O'Keefe had surgery on his broken digit, but instead of chilling on the sofa or going on holiday, he took to the gym while he couldn't play cricket. He hopes this will give him the nudge ahead of his competitors to be Nathan Lyon's deputy.

He said on the CA website: "Sri Lanka's what I'm preparing for, in my head. I wanted to give myself the best opportunity to go away for that tour.

"Obviously they haven't picked me yet and there are a lot of young, talented guys out there. But for me Sri Lanka's been the goal.

"I had a couple of opportunities to go overseas on holiday but I thought against it, because I really wanted to use this off-season to get my body and fitness right.

"I'm feeling as fit as I was four or five years ago. When I was in my early twenties I thought it was plain sailing because I didn't get too many injuries, but now more so than ever it's important to get my body right.

"So I've used this time to train physically and work a lot on my cricket."

O'Keefe is likely to be picked with Lyon, but faces competition from Fawad Ahmed, Ashton Agar, and possibly Glenn Maxwell. But Sri Lanka legend Muttiah Muralitharan feels O'Keefe would be the man to pick.

Murali said: "O'Keefe is very steady, similar to Rangana (Herath), he's not a big turner of the ball.

"If you're accurate and the wicket helps you're a big chance. He's not a bad bowler. I've been with him coaching. I worked with him in UAE."