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O’Keefe akin to reliable Korean car, says Monty Panesar

Pune: In motoring parlance, Australia spinner Steve O’Keefe is more reliable Korean car than prestige vehicle but his “happy” mental state makes him a great addition to the team garage, according to former England bowler Monty Panesar.
Recalled for just his fifth test since his 2014 debut against Pakistan, O'Keefe took 12 wickets in the series-opening defeat of India, the biggest haul ever by a visiting spinner.

Fellow left-arm spinner Panesar, who hopes to restore his own stalled international career, was hired by Cricket Australia to work with the team’s spinners before the tour and he saw enough in 32-year-old O’Keefe to feel he could play a big role.

“When I first saw him, he asked me: ‘what do you think of my spin bowling?’ I said to him, ‘you’re like a Hyundai i30,” Luton-born Panesar told Reuters. “'You’re very much unassuming. You’re reliable. You get from A to B and you get the job done’.

“I remember telling (the team management) before they left for India, I said ‘I feel like O’Keefe will have the most impact’. “That was my judgement and sometimes these things happen in cricket.”

Panesar played the last of his 50 tests at the Melbourne Cricket Ground during England's 5-0 humiliation in the 2013/14 series but he returned Down Under last year to play grade cricket for Sydney club Campbelltown-Camden Ghosts.
He faced O’Keefe in a match against Manly-Warringah last month and lasted only three balls before becoming one of the Australian’s nine victims in the first innings.

O'Keefe had pulled out of the domestic ‘Big Bash’ Twenty20 competition to play more red-ball cricket in the leadup to the India tour and Panesar was impressed with his application. “We had a chat at the game and I had an opportunity to look at his bowling,” the 34-year-old said.

“He very much sets up batsmen and looks to get them out. He's an intelligent cricketer. He knows his limitations but he’s happy. That's what I was surprised by. He's just happy with what he's got and he just tries to make the best of that.”


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