CA have pulled Stephen O’Keefe out of BBL06 to allow the spinner to prepare for next month’s Test tour of India, but Sydney Sixers unhappy.
O’Keefe had been named in the Sydney Sixers squad to make his return to Big Bash action in today’s match against the Melbourne Renegades at the SCG. The franchise had marketed the game with O’Keefe as one of three Test players returning to the shortest format alongside Jackson Bird and Nathan Lyon.
O’Keefe however has been withdrawn from the Sixers’ squad to focus on the five-day format. He will be part of an advance party to travel to Dubai for a training camp ahead of the India tour.
“Post the Sri Lanka tour last year we have been in talks with Cricket NSW and Steve on the best way for him to prepare for the Qantas tour of India,” Pat Howard, CA’s Executive General Manager of Team Performance, said. “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.”
SYDNEY SIXERS UNHAPPY
“We would have liked him to play another couple of games and do whatever else he is going to do, to work on his [fitness] loads and get his bowling loads up,” said Dominic Redmond, Sixers general manager. “I think there was a position where he could do both, from our perspective.
“In some ways, we would suggest [with] how aggressive the Indian batters are, then bowling a few overs in the BBL would be a pretty good way of getting in time for that type of response.
“They are very aggressive – we have seen it time and time again. They will try and take out our spin base straight away and put them off their game.
“We are disappointed for our members and fans that he was, obviously released into the squad, then he was withdrawn… These things happen,” he continued. “We know that Australian cricket is a priority and, for him, it’s about having the maximum opportunity to represent his country.”
O’Keefe has been replaced in the Sixers squad by Jordan Silk for the Renegades encounter.
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