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O’Keefe rates Australian spin depth

By AAP Newswire

Test and Twenty20 representative Steve O'Keefe insists Australia has plenty of spinning depth and has urged administrators and captains to give tweakers better opportunities.

O'Keefe, who on Sunday announced he was retiring from first-class cricket after failing to renew his contract with NSW, was the highest wicket-taking spinner in the last Shield season with 16 scalps from five matches.

He remains adamant the depth of spin talent is not an issue despite the unflattering Shield statistics and insists that different pitch conditions - and less reliance on the seamer-friendly Dukes ball - would help.

"We have so much talent in this country (and) spin-bowling depth," said O'Keefe, who played nine Tests and seven T20 internationals for Australia.

"I looked across at the top two spinners in each state and I really think there's so much quality.

"The problem, in my opinion, is that they are not being encouraged enough.

"Let's make sure when we pick Shield teams there's two spinners."

Australia have won just one of their last 10 Test series in India and only one of their last 15 Tests in that country, with O'Keefe taking 12-70 in that sole victory, in Pune in 2017.

The 35-year-old stressed a change of philosophy was necessary if Australia was to improve their record on the subcontinent.

"'Beating those guys in their conditions, we're going to have to start promoting it (spin) at home," O'Keefe said

"Spin bowling in Australia, they call the overs from 70 to 80 the graveyard shift because you try and pick up a wicket with six blokes out while they try and slog you.

"We've got to turn the wheel on that pretty quickly."

O'Keefe was surprised and disappointed, but not shocked, to miss out on a fresh contract with NSW.

"To use a cricket analogy, I think I've been given out when I haven't nicked one.

"There's still a lot of fire in the belly," said O'Keefe, who will play for defending champions Sydney Sixers in next season's BBL as well as turning out for his local Sydney grade club.

He registered the odd disciplinary blemish along his cricketing journey but O'Keefe insisted he had no on-field regrets and noted he shared his highest first-class score of 99 with three other Australian Test spinners - Shane Warne, Kerry O'Keeffe and Gavin Robertson.

"When I look back on my career, I could have had a bit more luck. I could have behaved a lot better obviously, but I feel like I've got the most out of my talent," he said.