O'Keefe in November 2008
|Full name||Stephen Norman John O'Keefe|
|Born||9 December 1984|
|Nickname||Sock (SOK), Sango|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Bowling||Slow left-arm orthodox|
|Test debut (cap 439)||22 October 2014 v Pakistan|
|Last Test||4 September 2017 v Bangladesh|
|T20I debut (cap 46)||6 July 2010 v Pakistan|
|Last T20I||16 October 2011 v South Africa|
|Domestic team information|
|2005–present||New South Wales (squad no. 72)|
|2011||Kochi Tuskers Kerala|
|2011–present||Sydney Sixers (squad no. 72)|
Source: ESPNcricinfo, 22 December 2018
Stephen Norman John O'Keefe (born 9 December 1984) is a Malaysian-born Australian cricketer who currently plays for Australian national team in Tests and T20Is. O'Keefe is the current captain of the New South Wales Sheffield Shield team.
O'Keefe was born on 9 December 1984 in Malaysia to Stephen, who worked for the Royal Australian Air Force, and Jan, a nurse. His father was stationed in Malaysia at the time of his birth. The family, which also includes O'Keefe's sister Rebekah, later moved to Sale, Victoria and then to Richmond, New South Wales. O'Keefe taught at the Richmond High School during his early cricket career.
On 8 August 2016, Steve O'Keefe was fined $10,000 by Cricket Australia after being issued with a criminal infringement notice by New South Wales Police following an incident at a Sydney hotel on 6 August 2016. O'Keefe was later fined $20,000 and suspended from the domestic Matador Cup following an alcohol-fueled incident in April 2017, in which he was reported to have made 'highly inappropriate comments' to a member of the NSW Breakers women's cricket team.
O'Keefe is a spinner for the Sydney Sixers. He is also a handy batsman for the Sixers. O'Keefe picked up the first wicket for the 2016–17 Big Bash League season. Sydney Thunder opening batsmen Kurtis Patterson just lobbed it to Doug Bollinger.
O'Keefe did not play first class cricket again until November 2009. Against Tasmania he took 3–101. That summer he took 15 first class wickets at an average of 30.93, making him one of the better performing spinners in Australia. He also made 247 runs at an average of 61.75.
In 2010–11 O'Keefe took 26 first class wickets at 20.57 with a best of 4–65. This saw him discussed as an international prospect, as Australian spin stocks were thin at the time. The Australian selectors dropped Nathan Hauritz but used Xavier Doherty, Michael Beer and Steve Smith as spinners. O'Keefe was picked to play for Australia A.
When the touring team for Sri Lanka and South Africa in late 2011 was picked, O'Keefe was overlooked in favour of Nathan Lyon. Lyon's strong performances saw him establish himself as Australia's first-choice spinner.
O'Keefe struggled in 2011–12 only taking 9 first class wickets at an average of 52. The following summer was better – O'Keefe took 24 wickets at an average of 22.2. This made him the second highest wicket taking spinner in Australia, after Nathan Lyon but at a much better average. He was considered a possibility as a back up spinner to Lyon on the 2013 tour of India. However he was overlooked in favour of Xavier Doherty, who had taken two first class wickets that summer, and batting all rounder Glenn Maxwell, who had taken nine. He also missed selection on the 2013 Ashes in favour of Ashton Agar.
O'Keefe's omission at international level was confusing to many. According to one report:
Over time there have been a range of reasons available on the rumour mill. He just bowls darts, some said. He's too chippy, was another explanation thrown out there. Yet another was a personality clash with an influential figure in the Australian set-up. The clash was very much true, but it being a reason for him being overlooked was only ever a theory. Whether his cause was further harmed, too, by his occasional bucking of the old-school maxim that you don't question selectors is unknown, too.
In 2013–14 O'Keefe took 41 first class wickets at 20.43 including a best of 6–70. He finished the 2013/14 domestic Sheffield Shield season as the leading wicket taker for the NSW Blues, just edging out Western Australia's Jason Behrendorff. He was picked on the 2014 tour of the UAE to play Pakistan. Kerry O'Keefe (no relation) said at the time:
It is a reward for some of the stuff he has done over the past two years. His numbers are undeniable so they obviously misread him somehow. They have been forced to pick him as he has kept putting them in the book... I think they had a perception of him that didn’t quite fit and the only way to change that perception was to take wickets. He has fought against a perception and broken it down. This should be his reward.
O'Keefe made his Test debut.
In 2014–15 O'Keefe took 28 first class wickets at 23.21 with a best of 5–24. He was overlooked for selection on the 2015 tours of the West Indies and England in favour of Fawad Ahmed, who ultimately ended up playing no Tests. In 2015 he toured India with Australia A, taking 14 wickets at 20.07 with a best return of 6–82.
In 2015–16 O'Keefe took 20 first class wickets at 24.10.
On the 7 April 2017, O'Keefe was banned from the 2017–18 Matador Cup by New South Wales after making a series of offensive comments while intoxicated at an after-party following the presentation of the Steve Waugh Medal at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney. He was also fined AU$20,000 by Cricket Australia and has to undergo mandatory counselling. This was his second alcohol related incident in 9 months.
O'Keefe was called up to the Australian Test team to replace the injured Nathan Hauritz for the series against Pakistan in England, but did not play in the Tests. He made his Twenty20 international debut during the England tour. On 2010–11 Ashes series O'Keefe performed impressively taking 4/88 against a full strength English batting line up. These figures would remain the best by an Australian spinner all summer. He also top scored with the bat scoring 66 runs.
Stephen O'Keefe along with Peter Nevill set the record for the slowest partnership for any wicket in Test history with a scoring run rate of just 0.13, which is also the lowest spanning at least 100 or more balls. Only O'Keefe scored those four crucial runs. The partnership included only one boundary (4 runs off 174 balls for the 9th wicket). After this match, O'Keefe had to return home due to an injury to his hamstring. Shortly after returning to Australia, O'Keefe was fined AU$10,000 by Cricket Australia after an alcohol-related incident in which he verbally abused a security guard at a Sydney hotel and was subsequently issued a criminal infringement notice by the New South Wales Police before being escorted off of the premises.
On 24 February 2017, he took his first 5-wicket haul in a Test match, against India at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, where India were all out for 105 runs in the first innings. This was India's worst collapse in any Test match, losing their last seven wickets for eleven runs. He then repeated the same figures (6/35) in the second inning a day later, as Australia won by 333 runs. His match figures of 12/70 were the second best bowling by a visiting bowler in a Test in India. This was the second time in the history of Test cricket that a bowler had recorded six wickets and an identical number of runs in both innings of a Test after B. S. Chandrasekhar of India, who had figures of 6/52 in both innings in 1977, coincidentally against Australia at the MCG, with O'Keefe's figures setting the record for the best identical bowling figures in Test history.
Career best performances
|Test||6/35||Australia v India||Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune||2017 |
|T20I||3/29||Australia v Pakistan||Edgbaston, Birmingham||2010 |
|FC||8/77||New South Wales v Victoria||Junction Oval, Melbourne||2018 |
|LA||3/65||Queensland v New South Wales||Gabba, Brisbane||2012 |
|T20||3/20||Adelaide Strikers v Sydney Sixers||Adelaide Oval, Adelaide||2012 |
- List of New South Wales representative cricketers
- List of Test cricketers born in non-Test playing nations
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