Off-spinner Stephen O’Keefe released from Sydney Sixers squad

Sydney, Jan 9 (IANS) Ahead of the upcoming four-Test tour to India, Australia off-spinner Stephen O’Keefe was on Monday released by the Sydney Sixers squad from the ongoing Big Bash League (BBL) T20 cricket tournament to give him time to prepare for the sub-continental challenge next month.

The Sixers named promising Jordan Silk as a temporary replacement for Monday evening’s clash while a permanent replacement will be announced in due course.

Speaking on the withdrawal, the team’s executive General Manager said Pat Howard: “Post the Sri Lanka tour last year we have been in talks with Cricket NSW and Steve on the best way for him to prepare for the tour of India.”

“After his recent injuries, which have caused him to miss Sheffield Shield matches this season, he has had a lot less red ball match practice than other players that are likely to tour India and it is important he gets as much bowling in the format he is going to play.”

“His focus will now be on Grade and Futures League cricket before likely being one of the first players to depart for Dubai in late January.”

The Kangaroos will tour India for a four-match Test series, with the first match to be played in Pune from February 23.