O'Keefe backs young Aussie to shine in India

Matt Renshaw after making his hundred in the recent series against Pakistan.
Matt Renshaw after making his hundred in the recent series against Pakistan. DAN HIMBRECHTS

CRICKET: Australian spinner Stephen O'Keefe says Matt Renshaw has the game to thrive in India after doing some homework with the youngster ahead of next month's tour of the sub-continent.

The slow left-arm spinner and the Queensland opener have both been getting tips on how to play on the turning pitches expected during the Test series.

In Brisbane's humid conditions and a pitch matching that which could be prepared in the Tests, the pair has been getting a helping hand from England tweaker Monty Panesar.

O'Keefe likes what has seen from the 20-year-old in the baggy green.

"He's already fitting in and feels quite comfortable playing for Australia,” O'Keefe said of his younger teammate.

"That's a big ingredient for a young bloke who is going to travel to India.

"He's a sponge. He's pretty quiet off the field, a bit quirky at times but in a cricketing sense, he's developing skills as a 20-year-old that 30-year-olds would love to have.

"He's got shots all round park, he sweeps really well.

"We have seen how disciplined he can be against the new ball.

"He's showing a lot of class for a young player.”

Australia's Stephen O'Keefe bowls in the nets
Australia's Stephen O'Keefe bowls in the nets Rick Rycroft

O'Keefe said the sweep shot could prove to be a successful way for the Australian batters to counter the likes of Ravi Ashwin and Ravinda Jadeja.

"I think the guys who do back themselves to play it (the sweep shot) will have a lot of success (in India),” he said.

"I don't think Indian spinners will like the Australian batters sweeping and sweeping well as I don't like it.

If we've got guys who are confident playing it, then go for it.

"Matt's (Renshaw) played the sweep a fair bit when I have played against him in Australia, so I hope he backs his skills.”

O'Keefe said he had enjoyed working with Panesar, who took 17 wickets the last time India lost a Test series at home in 2012.

"He's got a great recipe which works well over there in India,” the 32-year-old said of the ex-England Test bowler.

"He's a top fella to work with and speak to, so I am just racking his brains about how he bowls and how he went about playing over there.

"He's pretty open and knowledgable, so it's good to be able share that experience with him.

"There's no secret to it. He just said to be adaptable. At certain times they are going to play different shots to your best balls.

"Each wicket is going to play differently, so you have to adapt as quickly as possible, have trust in your skills but you have to adapt according to the conditions.

"That's what I am working on with him here is not doing the same ball after ball and using simple variations.”

Topics:  australian cricket team matt renshaw test cricket tour of india

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