Australia v Pakistan Tests
O'Keefe to join squad for SCG: reports
NSW spinner set to join Australia's Test squad for the third and final Test at the SCG, according to reports
30 December 2016, 10:25 AM AEST
Steve O’Keefe looks set to feature in Australia’s third Test squad after he did not fly to Adelaide today for the Sydney Sixers’ New Year’s Eve clash, according to reports.
News Corp is reporting O’Keefe will join Nathan Lyon in the Test squad and play in the final Test of the summer against Pakistan, to be played on the left-arm spinner’s home ground of the SCG.
A Sixers spokesperson confirmed O’Keefe will stay in Sydney until the third Test squad is named and if not selected he will fly immediately to Adelaide for the NYE KFC Big Bash League blockbuster against the Strikers.
Quick single: Smith flags spin boost for Sydney
O’Keefe has played two Sheffield Shield matches this summer, capturing 11 wickets at 19.91.
More importantly, eight of those wickets came on a spinning SCG deck against Western Australia in November.
Australia captain Steve Smith this morning flagged two spinners could play in Sydney given the traditional turning characteristics of the wickets square looks to have returned.
"We’ve had a quick chat to Boof and Trevor Hohns last night," Smith told ABC Grandstand.
"I think we’re going to wait until this Test match is over and see where things are at moving forward.
"Obviously the bowlers have bowled quite a lot this game and they’ve had a pretty big summer, so there’s a few things to talk about.
"I guess it will depend on the wicket. I know in Shield cricket this year that wickets have been spinning quite a lot. We’ll look at that. It is a possibility."
The left-arm spinner has played three Tests, including the Sydney Test against the West Indies last summer.
O’Keefe partnered incumbent spinner Nathan Lyon in the first Test in Sri Lanka this winter before injury ruled him out for the remainder of the series.
Quick single: Smith continues love affair with MCG
Bad luck followed the 32-year-old when he injured his calf in the Shield match against Victoria on the eve of the revamped squad announcement for the final Test against the Proteas.
Since then, O’Keefe has played three T20 matches for the Sydney Sixers in the KFC Big Bash League, with his durability the only doubt leading into Sydney.
Lyon, who has taken just nine wickets at 66 this summer, averages 54 in five Tests at the SCG and has been asked to be more consistent by skipper Steve Smith.
Smith failed to guarantee Lyon’s spot in the starting XI for Sydney, deferring the question of his immediate playing future to the National Selection Panel.
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