O’Keefe pulls out of BBL to prepare for India

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Ahead of next month’s four-Test series against India, Steve O’Keefe has withdrawn from Australia’s Big Bash League to prepare for the tour.

O’Keefe was named in the Sydney Sixers squad to face the Melbourne Renegades on Monday at the Sydney Cricket Ground, but withdrew from the team after Cricket Australia asked him to join the training camp in Dubai.

CA team performance manager Pat Howard said that after the left-arm spinner returned back from Sri Lanka last year July injured, they were already making preparations for him to get back into the squad.

“Post the Sri Lanka tour last year we have been in talks with Cricket New South Wales and Steve on the best way for him to prepare for the tour of India,” Howard explained.

“After his recent injuries, which have caused him to miss Sheffield Shield matches this season, he has had a lot less red-ball match practice than other players that are likely to tour India and it is important he gets as much bowling in the format he is going to play.

“His focus will now be on grade and futures league cricket before likely being one of the first players to depart for Dubai in late January”