Former England left-arm spinner Monty Panesar who was hired by Cricket Australia to work with the team’s spinners before the big tour is happy with Steve O’Keefe’s early success, and believes that he can still play a big role for the team.
O’Keefe was playing just his fifth since his debut in 2014 against Pakistan, O’Keefe took 12 wickets in the Pune Test to blow away India. “When I first saw him, he asked me: ‘what do you think of my spin bowling?’ I said to him, ‘you’re like a Hyundai i30”,” Panesar was quoted as saying about O’Keefe in a report by Reuters.
“‘You’re very much unassuming. You’re reliable. You get from A to B and you get the job done. I remember telling (the team management) before they left for India, I said ‘I feel like O’Keefe will have the most impact’. “That was my judgement and sometimes these things happen in cricket,” he went on to say.
Panesar himself hasn’t played for England since his 50th Test appearance at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when England were thrashed 5-0 in the 2013/14 Ashes. He played grade cricket for Sydney club Campbelltown-Camden Ghosts last year, and is hoping to make a comeback.
Panesar even faced O’Keefe in a match against Manly-Warringah last month. He could survive only three deliveries before perishing. O’Keefe missed the Big Bash Twenty20 to concentrate on the India tour, and left Panesar impressed.
“We had a chat at the game and I had an opportunity to look at his bowling. He very much sets up batsmen and looks to get them out. He’s an intelligent cricketer. He knows his limitations but he’s happy.
“That’s what I was surprised by. He’s just happy with what he’s got and he just tries to make the best of that. He doesn’t try to be anyone else. He tries to be the best O’Keefe he can be,” Panesar added.
--By A Cricket Correspondent