Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/3/4/okeefe-relinquishes-captaincy

O'Keefe relinquishes captaincy

UPDATED 04 March, 2013 3:53PM AEST | by Omnisport 6

All-rounder Stephen O'Keefe has stood down as captain of New South Wales in a bid to focus on his own game.

O'Keefe, who was disappointed to miss out on selection for Australia's four-Test tour of India, has taken the most wickets of any spin bowler in the Sheffield Shield this season.

The left-arm off-spinner has claimed 17 scalps at an average of 26.76, leaving him equal-16th on the list of wicket-takers.

O'Keefe has struggled with the bat though, averaging 22.11 in his 11 innings with just one half-century.

Nathan Lyon, Xavier Doherty, Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith were all preferred as spin options for Australia's tour of India but with the Ashes only a matter of months away, the 28-year-old is determined to win a national call up.

O'Keefe, who has captained the Blues in the absence of Michael Clarke due to national duties for the best part of two seasons, has stepped down from the role for the remainder of the 2012-13 campaign.

Ben Rohrer, who recently skippered NSW when O'Keefe was injured, will deputise in the meantime.

The Blues are going through a transition period after two years of mostly poor results, with the association currently advertising for the positions of head coach and chief executive.

John Warn has recently been appointed as chairman.

O'Keefe will be part of the Blues team who will take on Victoria at the MCG in the Sheffield Shield on Thursday.

NSW sit bottom of the Shield table.

Quicks Josh Hazlewood and Gurinder Sandhu have also been named in the NSW squad, with the pair fresh off impressive performances in Australia A's home series against the England Lions.

New South Wales squad: Ben Rohrer (c), Trent Copeland, Doug Bollinger, David Dawson, Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood, Scott Henry, Nic Maddinson, Peter Nevill, Stephen O'Keefe, Gurinder Sandhu, Adam Zampa (12th man to be named).

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 04 March, 2013 3:45PM AEST

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