Terry Jenner said that Steve O’Keefe bowled blancmanges. If you for some reason think that was intended as a compliment, O’Keefe himself recalls: “He’d just look at me in disgust about how putrid these things were that were coming out of my hand.”
Jenner’s greatest protégé Shane Warne feels similarly. According to him, O’Keefe is not a “red ball player,” he is “a white ball specialist.”
O’Keefe’s first-class bowling average is 23.81. His domestic one-day bowling average is 55.89. People actually pay Shane Warne significant sums of money to voice opinions like that.
Then again, Imran Khan probably thought Glenn McGrath didn’t swing the ball enough when he first saw him and Jeff Thomson probably thought he wasn’t quick enough. There’s more than one way to take a six-for. That’s the essence of cricket, no?
Steve O’Keefe bowled India out today. He took 6-35.
An enormous number of Australians were badmouthing the pitch even before a ball was bowled because they simply CANNOT comprehend that anything other than an Australian pitch is appropriate for Test cricket. But no matter what the state of the pitch, has anyone else taken 6-35 yet?
This shouldn’t really be an enormous surprise. If a spinner takes wickets at 23 without really spinning it a right lot, then presumably he’s making up for this in other ways – accuracy, consistency, general deviousness. Present such a player with a ‘helpful’ pitch and he’s going to make damn sure he makes the most of it.
Teams often head to India with ‘attacking’ spin bowlers, but Ravindra Jadeja averages 20 on these pitches because he wangs it at the stumps and sometimes turns it away from them slightly. As templates go, that is attainable, yet touring sides will often labour under the misconception that they have some Murali or a Warne waiting in the wings who will finally reveal his true nature on Indian soil.
That is manifestly cobblers. Beware the putrid blancmanges – that’s what we say.