Australia pacer John Hastings on Wednesday questioned left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe’s selection in the Test team despite being suspended by New South Wales for poor behaviour.
Australia national selectors chose O’Keefe as a replacement for injured Josh Hazlewood to go to Bangladesh instead of pacer Jon Holland, who was part of Australia’s pre-tour camp in Darwin.
“I really feel for Dutchy (pacer Jon Holland),” Hastings told RSN radio.
“Steve O’Keefe was best man at my wedding so I’m rapt for him, but probably by all rights he probably doesn’t deserve to be there. He’s suspended by NSW Cricket and he’s over playing for Australia. It’s an interesting one that one.
“I don’t think Holland can do any more than what he has done over the last few years. Last year he was prolific for the Bushrangers. He went up to Darwin (to the camp), got four or five for one in a spell. I honestly don’t know what the selectors could be saying to him, if anything. It’s just unbelievable,” he added.
O’Keefe is banned from the next NSW tournament and this year’s domestic limited-overs series, for offensive behaviour towards a female Australian cricketer and her partner during the state’s end of season awards night.
The Malaysia-born 32-year-old Aussie is also bereft of any match practice — his previous competitive match being the fourth Test of the Border-Gavaskar trophy against India in March.
“He’s coming in with no game time,” Hastings said of O’Keefe.
“It’s a massive ask for someone to come in with little or no preparation in matches. That time in the middle is absolute gold dust.”
Australia, under the leadership of Steve Smith, lost the first Test by 20 runs and are now taking part in the second match here.