Steve O’Keefe raring to get back to action after a long injury layoff
Australian spinner Steve O’Keefe is all set to get back to International action after a calf injury kept him out of the game for six months. The left-arm spinner, who was in Chennai for getting acclimatized to the conditions before the Test series in Sri Lanka, last played for Australia in January against West Indies where he injured his calf.
Joe Burns, Peter Nevill, and Jackson Bird were the other players to accompany him in Chennai.
“It was a really good opportunity to – a lot of the main guys had already been in the West Indies and had sort of acclimatised being able to play on slow wickets [in the Caribbean]. So for myself, Jackson Bird, Peter Nevill and Joe Burns, it was a really good opportunity to acclimatise and get used to what will probably be similar conditions in Sri Lanka,” O’Keefe said on Monday (July 11).
The spinner said that training in the MRF Pace Foundation gave him a good chance to get match fit.
“We were fortunate enough to be able to train with the MRF fast bowlers. We were also able to get a game in. For myself, I haven’t played for about four months, so it was great to be able to get 90 overs in these conditions and bowl 20 overs in a game scenario. It’s a really invaluable experience which puts me in a good position to turn up [in Sri Lanka] and hit the ground running.
“We’ve got a really good, extended, pre-season, pre-tour before we play our first game, so I feel like I’m in a pretty good position, like the other guys are as well. I missed the end of the Shield season. I had plenty of time to get fit and go away from the game, but now I’m hungry and ready to play.”
With the first start Test starting on July 26, O’ Keefe said that his team has ample time to try a few things out.
“Steve Smith, the captain, always talks about being adaptable and assessing conditions as quickly as possible. I guess in these conditions, they’re going to spin a little bit more than at home, but that poses a whole different challenge in itself: how quickly you bowl, what kind of shape you put in the ball […] We’ve got 16 days before the first game, so we’ve got plenty of time to try a few things out, get yourself in a good place. And look, if there’s a need for two spinners, myself and Gazza [Nathan Lyon] are here, and I’ll be ready to go.”
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