India are a class team, says Steve O'Keefe

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 13, 2017 10:10 hrs
Steve O'Keefe

Dubai: Ahead of the four-match Test rubber against India later this month, Australian spinner Steve OKeefe on Tuesday termed the hosts as a "class" team with some "exceptional" batsmen.

The 32-year-old left-arm spinner admitted that taming the Indian batsmen would be a "big job" but expressed confidence on his team's abilities to do "some damage" during the series, which begins with the opening match in Pune on February 23.

"(India) are a class team, they're exceptional batters at home and it's going to be a big job," O'Keefe was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

"They're class players -- (Cheteshwar) Pujara, Lokesh Rahul, Karun Nair and Virat Kohli -- so that's four of their (current) top six (in Test cricket)."

"But I have no doubt if we get it right for a sustained longer periods, we can do some damage," he added.

O'Keefe and fellow spinner Nathan Lyon are currently brushing their skills under former Sri Lankan tweaker Rangana Herath and New Zealand legend Daniel Vettori in Australia's pre-tour training camp here.

"The main things you get away from those guys is challenging the batter's defence," O'Keefe said.

"And if you can continually put the ball in the right area, given these conditions will spin more than what we're used to at home, that will help us. It's about building pressure and not being overawed," he added.

O'Keefe also trained under former England left-armer Monty Paneswar, who was one of the architects of England's historic 2-1 win over India in 2012.

"The keys (Panesar) talked about was being adaptable," O'Keefe said.

"You're going to get different wickets, albeit they will be generally slow and spinning, but at times they can play a bit differently. One might be a little bit quicker, one might bounce a bit more."

"He talked about being able to adapt really quickly and on the spot and also being able to take away the batsman's scoring options in regards to boundaries."

"He talked about building pressure through being a little bit defensive, which was something that was refreshing to hear," O'Keefe added.

O'Keefe will have to fight for a spot in the playing XI with off-spinner Lyon, and youngsters Ashton Agar and Mitchell Swepson during the rubber.




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