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Smith looking to the future after explaining O'Keefe snub

steveokeefe - Cropped
Australia spinner Steve O'Keefe
Modified 07 Aug 2017, 15:00 IST

Steve O'Keefe's surprise omission for Australia's two-Test series in Bangladesh was taken with one eye on the team's next tour of India, says captain Steve Smith.

Left-arm spinner O'Keefe took a sublime 12-wicket haul in Australia's first-Test victory over India in Pune in February and he has 33 wickets from eight Tests.

However, he was not included for the travelling party to Bangladesh, meaning 23-year-old Ashton Agar is set to make a first appearance in five-day cricket in more than four years, while the uncapped Mitchell Swepson is also in the squad.

O'Keefe will be 36 by the time Australia visit India again in 2021 and skipper Smith stated that was part of the thinking behind the decision.

"I thought the first Test in India he bowled particularly well and at times throughout the series he bowled well without taking the wickets we would have liked," Smith told

"Now is probably a chance to move on to someone else and Ashton Agar's going to get his opportunity.

"[Agar] has been around for a while now and it's another chance for him to have a crack in spin-friendly conditions and hopefully he can go really well for us.

"I have [spoken to O'Keefe] and he was disappointed, which is fair enough. He understands where we're heading.

"He's getting a bit older now and our next tour back to India is in four years' time and we've got to find the right group of guys that are going to be there for that series.


"That's going to be an important one for us, so hopefully we can continue to develop a few players in the meantime."

In April, O'Keefe was fined 20,000 Australian dollars for making "highly inappropriate comments" under the influence of alcohol following Cricket NSW's end-of-season awards function.

It was O'Keefe's second offence under Cricket Australia's Code of Conduct in 18 months, but Cricket NSW CEO Andrew Jones said last month that he had been told his disciplinary record was not a factor in the decision.

Published 07 Aug 2017, 15:00 IST
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