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Kerry O'Keeffe

Kerry O'Keeffe
Personal information
Full nameKerry James O'Keeffe
Born (1949-11-25) 25 November 1949 (age 69)
Hurstville, New South Wales, Australia
BattingRight-hand bat
BowlingLegbreak googly
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 254)21 January 1971 v England
Last Test28 July 1977 v England
ODI debut (cap 34)2 June 1977 v England
Last ODI6 June 1977 v England
Domestic team information
1968/9-1975/6 & 1979/80New South Wales
Career statistics
Competition Test ODIs FC List A
Matches 24 2 169 39
Runs scored 644 16 4,169 305
Batting average 25.76 16.00 26.05 15.25
100s/50s -/1 -/- 0/13 -/-
Top score 85 16* 99* 35
Balls bowled 5384 132 31,052 1,431
Wickets 53 2 476 27
Bowling average 38.07 39.50 28.11 32.70
5 wickets in innings 1 - 24 -
10 wickets in match - n/a 5 n/a
Best bowling 5/101 1/36 7/38 3/16
Catches/stumpings 15/- -/- 112/- 7/-
Source: Cricinfo, 10 November 2012

Kerry James O'Keeffe (born 25 November 1949, Hurstville, New South Wales) is a former Australian cricketer and a current cricket commentator for Fox Sports. O'Keeffe played 24 Tests and 2 ODIs between 1971 and 1977.

Playing career

He was a spin bowler, bowling leg breaks. He never quite lived up to early expectations of being the next great Australian leg spin bowler, taking 53 wickets at an average of 38.07. He made his Test debut against England in the Fifth Test of the 1970-71 Ashes series after taking 6/69 and hitting 55 not out in the New South Wales match against the tourists, but did little and was dropped. Recalled for the vital Seventh Test on the spinning SCG pitch he took 3/48 and 3/96, but it was not enough to win the game and save The Ashes. He did however have some success with the bat averaging 25.76 and being called upon to open the batting in the second innings of the Centenary Test. One statistic that O'Keeffe himself uses to demonstrate his lack of penetration with the ball is that he is the bowler with the highest percentage of wickets out 'caught' in the history of Test match cricket (44 out of 53 wickets, 84%)[1] This is typical of his commentating style of making fun of his bowling abilities. He often talks of an incident during the 1972 Australian tour of England, when he appealed against a batsman for leg before wicket, and the umpire turned him down, saying that the ball was "doing too much", meaning that the ball was spinning so much that it would have turned away from the stumps. O'Keeffe said that the umpire's comment was a sarcastic jibe at his inability to spin the ball, something he likes to mock himself about.

Post-playing career

O'Keeffe had varied careers post-cricket including as a commentator on ABC Radio. He was known for his humorous anecdotes, told in the manner of an after dinner speech at a cricketers club, and his distinctive laugh. He especially seemed to enjoy working with overseas commentators such as India's Harsha Bhogle whom he enjoyed confusing with his colourful Australian language. However, when he concentrated on the game he showed insight born of a career at the highest level together with study of the statistics and history of the game.

In 2004 he released his autobiography According to Skull. He has also released a number of CDs containing some shorts of his commentating antics.

On 27 December 2013, while providing commentary on the Melbourne Boxing Day Test between Australia and England, O'Keeffe announced his retirement from commentating after the Sydney Test in January 2014 (O'Keeffe had accepted a redundancy from the ABC).[2] However O'Keeffe returned to cricket commentary in December 2016 as part of Triple M's new cricket coverage.

On 13 July 2018, it was announced that O'Keeffe had joined the Fox Sports cricket commentary team from the 2018-19 season.[3]


Commentating during the third Test of India's tour of Australia in 2018, O'Keeffe remarked that India's debutant opener Mayank Agarwal's first-class triple hundred "must have come against a Railways Canteen Staff XI." After Agarwal went on to score 76 in his debut innings, Indian head coach Ravi Shastri hit back at O'Keeffe saying, "Mayank's got a message for Kerry. When you do open your canteen, he wants to come and smell the coffee. And he wants to compare it to the ones back home in India. Is the coffee better here in your canteen, or the one back home?" O'Keeffe apologized for his comments after a backlash from fans and former cricketers.[4]

Later, on day four of the same Test match, O'Keefe was jokingly asked by fellow commentator Shane Warne to pronounce "Cheteshwar Jadeja" after the former had struggled to pronounce Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja's names throughout the day. Making light of his difficulties he commented, "Why would you call your kid Cheteshwar Jadeja?" The comments received backlash on social media for allegedly being "racist" in nature.[5] India's bowling coach Bharat Arun stated that the team was "hurt" by O'Keeffe's "offensive" comments and added that the players wanted to "channelise that hurt towards doing better on the field."[6] After India won the Test match on day five, O'Keeffe wrote an open apology letter to the Indian team and fans.[7][8]

A day before the fourth Test, it was reported that Indian broadcaster Sony had decided to black out O'Keeffe's commentary by not using Fox Cricket's commentary feed when he is on air.[9][10] This proved not to be the case and Sony continued to carry O'Keeffe's commentary.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Kerry O'Keeffe retires from ABC Grandstand commentary team". ABC News. 27 December 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Brett Lee and Kerry O'Keeffe added to Fox Sports' all-star cricket crew". Fox Sports. 13 July 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  4. ^ Monga, Sidharth (29 December 2018). "India furious over Kerry O'Keeffe's 'Railways Canteen Staff XI' jibe". ESPN. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  5. ^ "After Mayank Agarwal, Kerry O'Keefe now makes fun of Cheteshwar Pujara- Twitter calls out Aussie commentator". DNA. 29 December 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ Tagore, Vijay (2 January 2019). "Kerry O'Keeffe's commentary to be blacked out in India". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  10. ^ "After controversy, Sony opts to black out Kerry O'Keeffe's commentary in Sydney Test". Deccan Chronicle. 3 January 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2019.

External links

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