Stephen O’Keefe is one of the most influential members of the NSW squad. The former skipper has become one of the more reliable all-rounders in the competition, with many people surprised he wasn’t included on the tour to India earlier this year.
The NSW Blues squad is one of the most unique in Australia. Given how disruptive it can be to have the bulk of the team missing on international duty, the experience of players like O’Keefe is paramount.
The 28 year old made his debut in 2005, and signalled his intent with a six to get off the mark.
He was then in and out of the side until 2010, when he stamped his authority with several telling contributions for his State. Australian selectors must have liked what they saw, because they included him in their “A” squad to take on Sri Lanka “A”, where he made the most of his opportunity, snaring seven wickets and scoring 61 and 47.
His starring role earned him a spot in the t20 side to take on Pakistan. Three wickets on debut iced what had been a career defining twelve months for the all-rounder, who would go on to represent Australia a further six times.
O’Keefe is one of the smartest exponents of orthodox bowling in this country and was a key figure in the Sydney Sixers’ successful CT20 campaign, taking 1/11 from his four overs in the final.
He wasn’t as effective in the most recent Big Bash, although he did pick up three wickets against eventual champions the Brisbane Heat.
Whether he is tying down an end or scoring a valuable 30 with the bat, O’Keefe is the sort of player every team desperately needs.