Friday, February 24, 2017

Wrecker-in-chief Steve O"Keefe credits "local" Sriram

Pune: Having reduced India to 70 for three, most of the Australia team members would have gone into the dressing room feeling satisfied at lunch on Day Two of the first Test at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune on Friday.

Not Steve O’Keefe though! Having opened the bowling and failed to make any impact in his first six overs, the left-arm spinner came out with the team’s consultant Sridharan Sriram and hit the nets straight away.

The 32-year-old was seen having a brief conversation with Sriram after that session, and the result was outstanding; a spell of 4.1-1-5-6.

“When I started to bowl my first six overs, I think I went probably back to my comfort zone, which is what I bowl in Australia. It was just probably going a bit over the top and whenever I was trying to bowl quick, it was too full. It was ordinary bowling the first six overs. I’d been working in the nets with some other variations, just changing the seam angle and arm angle. You probably don’t notice it, but for me it made all the difference. Sree was like ‘let’s go out and bowl till you feel comfortable with it and then hit it on,” O’Keefe explained after the day’s play.

O’Keefe credited Sriram for his overall improvement as a bowler too. “I think the biggest influence has been Sree. I’ve worked with him in Chennai in the ‘A’ series. I come on the field, I get to speak with him, he’s a local so he knows the conditions. I get to spend lunch time bowling with him. And he understands how to bowl in these conditions. How the batters are thinking. He has been the biggest help along with the other coaching staff,” the left-arm spinner said.

At 32, O’Keefe is quite a late bloomer in international cricket; he had just played four Tests before this game. Having failed to make an impact in Sri Lanka in the only Test he played on that tour last year, O’Keefe was certainly determined to deliver.

“Going to Sri Lanka, that was my big opportunity, but I messed that one up. To be honest, I always thought Indian tour was there, but it was almost unreachable. So to be given this opportunity, I’ve been trying to make the most of it,” he added.

“I’ve prepared for it back home by giving away some of the BBL cricket. We know this is a big tournament for us as a group. So it means a lot to do well, but we’re into Day 3 of a four-Test series. So we’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves,” Australia’s player of the day added.

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