Left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe has admitted he feared that his drunken controversy in April consequently ended his career.
O’Keefe attracted a fine of 20,000 Australian dollars ($15,100) misbehaving during the event hosted by New South Wales under the influence of alcohol.
The misbehaviour also lead to him getting dropped in Australia’s domestic one-day competition next season.
That was O’Keefe’s second alcohol-related offence in recent times. About a year ago in August, he was fined $7,500 for misbehaving while under the influence of alcohol at a Sydney pub.
Second time lucky
O’Keefe says he was happy to be second time lucky and get away with a less harsh punishment for his inappropriate behaviour.
The ban came just after a highly successful tour of India where he was the best spinner in his side. Australia managed just one win (1st Test in Pune) in the 4-match Tests series, and Steve O’Keefe played a crucial role in it, picking his career best figures of 12/70.
Initially, he was not considered for Australia’s tour of Bangladesh at first but is currently in Bangladesh as a replacement for Josh Hazlewood for the second Test against Bangladesh.
“Yeah I did [think my career was over]. Originally I felt that when I stuffed up the first time, you’re very lucky you get second chances and I got that, and I faltered again and made some mistakes, which I completely regret, I’m extremely sorry for. I’m just fortunate I’ve got supportive people around me who, as quick as they are to hand out punishment, will be the same people there to support so that as an individual I’m on the right track, not just as a cricketer,” O’Keefe said on Friday (September 1).
“I completely accept the punishment handed down from NSW to ban me from the [limited-overs] cup, it was Andrew Jones’s decision and he thought that was right and I respect his judgement call on it. What was communicated to me was that was where it was at, the one-day tournament and not anything else. I wasn’t in a position to even challenge it and I completely understand why I got it. But I’ve known from the outset that was the decision, and Cracker [Australia’s chairman of selectors, Trevor Hohns] also reiterated to me that the door is not shut on you playing for Australia.”
“I was having a feed with a mate and saw the missed phone-call and was quite surprised to be honest. I originally got the message from David Freedman [NSW’s state talent manager] saying he had a message from Cracker [Hohns] and they’re still thinking of you and considering you. That was nice to know, then an hour after that I got a call from Cracker who filled me in with the good news.