‘Best since Ponting’: O’Keeffe anoints saviour
THINGS look decidedly bleak in Australian cricket at the moment.
The ODI team has lost 17 of its past 19 ODIs with a World Cup on the horizon, the Test side is coming off yet another chastening loss to Pakistan in the UAE and the spectre of No. 1 team India gunning for their first ever series win in Australia looms large in the summer - and that's even before factoring in the shemozzle surrounding Cricket Australia.
But former Test great Kerry O'Keeffe has anointed the saviour of Australia cricket and says it's not too soon to fast-track him into the Test team now because he possesses such a rock-solid technique.
"(The problem is) the batting and the technique. But there is a saviour, there was one at the SCG today," O'Keeffe said on Tuesday.
"Jason Sangha. If he was a thoroughbred, his breeding would be Joe Root out of Virat Kohli.
"He is 19 years of age, he got a 100 today, admittedly against that attack that included Matthew Wade. I don't know about that one.
"But this is the guy who can save the Centre of Excellence, who can save the development programs. This is a player of the ages. He is the best, technically, we've had since (Ricky) Ponting."
Sangha and fellow teen Jack Edwards both recorded hundreds for NSW against Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield at the SCG on Tuesday.
Captain Sangha and opener Edwards, who starred for Australia at this year's under-19 World Cup final, shared a stand of 180 runs in their first outing for NSW at the SCG.
Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns and Test captain Tim Paine, behind the stumps in his first game for Tasmania this summer, would have been suitably impressed.
But none more impressed than O'Keeffe.
"Jason Sangha, I would fast-track him," he said. "He is only 19 but he has got a technique that would get him runs on most decks.
"And that's the thing, we win at home, we got to India and England and get beaten. Why? Technically, we're not good enough.
"We've got a player who's come out of our system - Jason Sangha from Newcastle who plays for Randwick-Petersham - who can bat in the middle order as a teenager and do the job when he matures."