Steve O’Keefe does not deserve the spot he has taken on the Bangladesh tour, at least according to his good pal John Hastings.
O’Keefe may have been Hastings’ best man when the latter got hitched, but the all-rounder is struggling to understand how the finger-spinner got chosen over Jon Holland to go to Bangladesh.
O’Keefe Stands in as an Injury Replacement
Although O’Keefe was omitted from the original Australian squad for the tour, he was then called up as Josh Hazlewood’s injury replacement in the second Test.
Although Hastings was pleased that his friend had been able to gain this kind of opportunity, he nonetheless maintains that this position should have gone to his Victorian teammate instead.
He spoke with RSN radio about how bad he felt for Holland, and insisted that, above and beyond his personal joy at a friend receiving this kind of honour, he did not, by all rights, truly deserve it.
He mentioned that O’Keefe is under suspension by NSW cricket, and that this was incongruous with his presence in Bangladesh, and contrasted this with the impeccable sporting performance given by Holland for a long while now.
He questioned why O’Keefe was chosen and the more deserving Holland was not, and was openly confused about what the selection criteria could possibly have been.
O’Keefe’s Drunken Antics Almost Ended His Career
A long time favourite with Australian punters and the online betting markets so widely provided for in terms of the Australian cricket team’s appearances, O’Keefe’s international career looked likely to be over when he was not chosen as part of the original Australian squad.
Steve Smith pinned this decision on the necessity of grooming Australia’s next generation of spinners for the 2021 Indian tour, but O’Keefe understood he had shot himself in the foot by managing to get a Cricket New South Wales domestic suspension imposed after his drunken behaviour at the state’s Awards night to mark the end of the season.
Holland, in Contrast, Has Behaved Impeccably
Contrastingly, Holland has enjoyed an incredible year on the domestic game circuit. He took 50 wickets at 20.78 at the Sheffield Shield, and followed this up by running amok in the intrasqaud game Australia played in Darwin in preparation for their Bangladeshi tour: he took four for one in just 1.5 overs at one point!
Hastings Acknowledges Holland’s Hard Work
Hastings went on to say that he did not think it was possible for Holland to work any harder than he had over the past few years, adding that in 2016 he was a prolific player for the Bushrangers.
He mentioned that when Holland had gotten up to Darwin, he even managed to get four or five wickets for one run.
O’Keefe, on the other hand, had a difficult time in the first innings of the Chittagong game for the Bangladesh tour, leaking a total of 79 runs across 23 overs without a wicket – a performance that Hastings believes has a lot to do with how little preparation O’Keefe had before the game.