O’Keefe keen for Lankan Tests


Australia spinner Steve O’Keefe cannot wait for the Test series against Sri Lanka to get underway.

O'Keefe has had limited opportunities at Test level, but playing on the subcontinent means that Australia are likely to play two spinners at once, granting the New South Welshman a valuable opportunity.

The left-armer has recovered from the injury that cut short his 2015/2016 first class season, and is raring to go.

The spinner told cricket.com.au: "I felt ready maybe a month ago,

"I missed the end of the Shield season so I had plenty of time to get fit and sort of go away from the game.

"Now I’m hungry and ready to play and from what I’ve seen so far it’s going to be tough work, but it’s an exciting challenge and a beautiful place to be in Sri Lanka."

The tweaker has indicated a desire to adapt to the conditions quickly, and fulfill whatever role his captain needs him to: "Steve Smith always talks about being adaptable and assessing the conditions as quickly as possible,

"In these conditions it’s going to spin a bit more than home, but that poses a whole bunch of questions in itself: how quick you bowl, what shape you put on the ball

"We’ve got some really good support structures with the coaches and 16 days before the first game, so there’s plenty of time to try a few things out and put myself in a good place.

"If we need two spinners, obviously myself and ‘Gaz’ (Nathan Lyon) are here and we’ll be ready to go."

The spinner experienced the subcontinent as recently as last year, with Australia A visiting India and O'Keefe leading his team in wicket-taking.

The 31-year-old hopes to put that experience to good use: "From last year playing in the ‘A’ series there are periods in the game that can be drawn out and quite tough and doesn’t seem like much is happening, but you’ve just got to contain it during those times,

"And when the wicket does break up and present an opportunity where it spins, it can almost be even more challenging.

"You’ve got to stick to things you do well, for me that’s attacking the stumps and being accurate and making sure every ball the batter has to answer a question.

"Over here it can be quite unforgiving if you get it wrong, (if you offer) a bit of width or get too full these guys will punish you, they’re very good at home."