O’Keefe backs Swepson for Test glory

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Australia Left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe has backed young leg spinner Mitchell Swepson to become a success at Test level.

Swepson has earned call ups to the Test squad in the past but is yet to earn a cap having seen management favour calling O’Keefe into the XI from outside the squad while they were in Bangladesh.

However the veteran New South Wales spinner feels the Queensland man has what it takes to notch over 200 Test wickets for Australia.

O’Keefe was impressed with how Swepson took the disappointment of not playing on either the India or Bangladesh tours in his stride.

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Tweaker O’Keefe told Cricket.com.au: “If he was disappointed, which I think he had every right to be given that situation, he certainly didn’t show it.

“He was always positive doing his duties.”

O’Keefe feels it is only a matter of time before Swepson earns his first Test cap though he stressed that Nathan Lyon remains Australia’s clear number one spinner.

He added: “I don’t think it will be long before he does play and when he does play I think he’s going to do a great job.

“Nathan is world-class, if not the best bowler in the world over the last 12 months, but if there’s a chance to play a leg-spinner I think he would slot in and do a fantastic job.

“The things that he might have learnt in the last couple of months particularly touring India and Bangladesh, and the confidence he got out of bowling to those guys (means) he probably thinks now that he’s ready.

“That confidence will be invaluable, the experience that he got to spend with the Australian cricket team will be invaluable for him.

“If in 10 years’ time we’re looking at a guy who’s got 200 Test wickets bowling leg spin again, which we haven’t seen for a while, I think he’ll look back on that and really draw on those experiences.

“I’m sure when he does get his chance he will do really well.”

Swepson recently took a second first class five-for in a Sheffield Shield match against South Australia in Cairns.