Sydney, Mar 19: Australian selectors must admit they blundered by picking up left-arm tweaker Xavier Doherty as deputy to incumbent offie Nathan Lyon in their Test series against India, which they have already lost 3-0, and they should now make amends by calling up nation’s most successful spinner in the domestic circuit, Steve O’Keefe for the final dead rubber Test in Delhi, according to sports journalist, Peter Badel.
“Shane Watson has flown back to India. Now selection boss John Inverarity should ask Cricket Australia to book a second plane ticket for NSW spinner Steve O’Keefe to play in the fourth Test starting on Friday,” Badel wrote in his column for News.com.au.
“It is time for Australia’s selection panel to swallow their pride, concede picking the pedestrian Xavier Doherty was fundamentally flawed and give O’Keefe a baggy-green debut in the Delhi dead-rubber,” he added.
“Of course, it is unlikely to happen, because summoning O’Keefe would be the panel’s red-faced admission they botched the selection process well before a ball was bowled in this shambolic series,” he wrote.
Badel further added: “If Inverarity is doing his job to the required levels of competence, he will acknowledge O’Keefe is Australia’s leading domestic spinner, judge purely on form, then demand his selection for the fourth Test.”
“Australia had a spinner capable of succeeding on this tour. The problem is they left O’Keefe at home and it has impacted on the balance of Australia’s teams in this series. With every first-class wicket, the Blues tweaker continues to embarrass Inverarity,” he added.
“In the past seven weeks, “SOK” has claimed 15 Shield scalps at 14.8, including an eight-wicket haul against WA – a week before the touring party for India was picked,” he said.
“Granted, Steve O’Keefe will never be Shane Warne. But he is better than Xavier Doherty and Michael Beer. It is time John Inverarity acknowledged it,” he concluded. (ANI)