Stephen O’Keefe recalled to the Australian Test squad as replacement for Hazlewood

Stephen O’Keefe recalled to the Australian Test squad as replacement for Hazlewood

Josh Hazlewood suffered a side strain on the third day in the first session.

Australian spinner Stephen O'Keefe (C) is congratulated by teammates Mitch Marsh (R) and Peter Nevill (L) after dismissing West Indies batsman Denesh Ramdin on the final day of the third cricket Test match in Sydney on January 7, 2016. AFP PHOTO / William WEST --IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO COMMERCIAL USE-- / AFP / WILLIAM WEST (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
Australian spinner Stephen O’Keefe. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

Left-arm spinner Stephen O’Keefe has been recalled to the Australia Test squad to replace the injured Josh Hazlewood. The spinner will fly to Bangladesh ahead of the second Test match at Chittagong which will start on September 4. Interestingly, he was ignored by the selectors for this series stating that they were looking at the young spinners for the future.

Hazlewood suffered a side strain on the third morning of the ongoing Test in Dhaka and walked off the field having bowled just seven balls into his spell. The fast bowler could only bowl 4.1 overs in the second innings. Later, he was ruled out of the Test series as well as of the India tour and confirmed to be returning home. He will now aim to get fit in time for the upcoming Ashes at home in November.

O’Keefe’s recall a surprise

The return of the New South Wales spinner has come as a surprise for everyone as he was overlooked for the series earlier. Young Ashton Agar was preferred over him for the series in the sub-continent. Also, many eyebrows might be raised as O’Keefe is serving a suspension from Cricket NSW. He was handed a fine of AUD 20,000 by Cricket Australia (CA) and was suspended by his domestic team management from the upcoming domestic one-day cup for making “highly inappropriate comments” following an awards function in Sydney.

However, CA has picked a spinner as a replacement for the pacer. Trevor Hohns, the chairman of the selection panel believes that the two seamers in the squads are good enough to do the job in the second Test. “With Jackson Bird in the squad we are comfortable with our fast-bowling options for the second Test and have elected to add an additional spinner given the conditions we are likely to face in Chittagong,” Hohns said in a statement.

In the ongoing Test match though, the match is interestingly poised as Australia have made 199/7 until lunch with Glenn Maxwell, the only recognised batsman, on the crease.