Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Steve O’Keefe set to retire from BBL – ‘I’ve had loads of enjoyable’


There will probably be no helicopter for Steve O’Keefe on the SCG on Friday, however his night within the BBL Sydney derby could possibly be a way more vital than David Warner’s hasty flight from his brother’s wedding ceremony.

There’s an opportunity that the sport will probably be O’Keefe’s closing outing on the SCG with this season very more likely to be the final of his skilled profession. Nonetheless, it could be value simply holding the farewells. Sydney Sixers are nonetheless within the operating to host a closing, and even perhaps the decider if they will get into the Qualifier and defeat Brisbane Warmth on the Gold Coast.

Regardless, although, of precisely when, sooner or later within the subsequent two weeks left-arm spinner O’Keefe will all however definitely dangle up his boots. He is talked of retirement often over the previous couple of seasons, however this time he is severe. He is relocating to northern New South Wales and has no plans to proceed taking part in cricket.

“It will likely be very arduous to play on subsequent yr so this could possibly be my final sport on the SCG,” he mentioned. “It is not 100 per cent confirmed, and I will be sure the proper folks know that on the proper time.

“I’ve had a good time taking part in it and now the expectation round your coaching and your physique, committing to cricket 12 months of the yr might be one thing that is a bit previous me in the mean time.

“I really feel actually fulfilled with what I’ve executed career-wise and really, very pleased. I’ve had loads of enjoyable this yr and am definitely nonetheless having fun with it.”

O’Keefe is presently the third-highest wicket-taker for Sixers within the BBL with 94 at 23.40 and a miserly economic system fee of 6.69. The wickets haven’t been plentiful this season, with simply three in six video games, however he has nonetheless solely conceded 6.65 an over. He’s assured in the way forward for the Sixers’ spin bowling with Todd Murphy and Joel Davies half of the present squad.

His T20 debut got here within the state league, the precursor to the BBL, in 2009. He bowled one over within the sport towards Tasmania at Stadium Australia and batted at No. 9. One place above him the order was a sure S. Smith. Briefly he was a T20 opener and hit 48 off 46 balls when Sixers gained the inaugural BBL title with victory over Perth Scorchers in early 2012.

“There’s been loads of highs on the sphere…taking part in for Australia is one thing that may stand out,” he mentioned. “Sadly for me, my lowlights had been all off the sphere, however definitely introduced loads of progress and growth. For the Sixers, going back-to-back [titles] was wonderful and likewise once we went to South Africa for the Champions League, that was loads of enjoyable.”

His axing from the New South Wales state checklist in early 2020 hit him arduous, notably because it got here after a strong Sheffield Defend marketing campaign, however he was capable of finding a brand new lease of life within the BBL.

“I used to be bitter and twisted for a few years,” he mentioned. “Definitely took its toll…definitely takes you aback, particularly in an affiliation you’ve got been taking part in cricket for 20 years. The cold-hearted nature of the way it occurs could be fairly a shock. Definitely do not need to play the woe-is-me card, suppose everybody goes via it in sure points of their life it doesn’t matter what you do.

“I’ve simply been privileged and lucky sufficient that I have been in a position to prolong my profession in cricket. A variety of gamers years in the past would not have had that chance to proceed. This place [Sixers] has reinvigorated a love for the sport which thought I did not have a few years in the past and it has been a lot enjoyable.”

O’Keefe has aspirations to work as a spin-bowling coach and will proceed to dabble in commentary. “I would like to assist out, suppose spin bowling is someplace I may help,” he mentioned. “It is one thing I am captivated with.”

For now, although, when the season is finished, he’ll settle into his new house and take “lengthy service go away” after 20 years in skilled cricket.

“I am simply going to sit down in entrance of the TV and turn into an armchair skilled,” he joked. “I’d open a Twitter web page and see how a lot hassle I can get into doing that.”

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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