Sydney [Australia], April 6 (ANI): Australian spinner Steve O'Keefe, who recently retired from first-class cricket, said that spinners are not being encouraged in the country to win games as the conditions are not allowing 'them to express themselves'.
"We have so much talent in this country, spin-bowling depth. I look across at the top two spinners in each state that I really think there's so much quality," ESPNcricinfo quoted O'Keefe as saying.
"The problem is that they aren't being encouraged enough to be given a ball in the first ten overs and being told to win a game of cricket. The conditions haven't allowed them to express themselves," he added.
The Australian pitches have always been dominated by pace bowlers as they get seam, swing and bounce. Spinners struggle a lot in these conditions and stressing that O'Keefe said the home conditions should favour spin bowlers in order to taste success in India or subcontinent conditions.
"We promote the Dukes ball. In the game at the moment, you could pick four quicks and if you had to pick an allrounder you could pick a medium pacer and still do well - you'd win with that team, with no spinner, which to me is a shock. If we really want to win a series in India, which is the final frontier, then we have to start providing [conditions] at home," O'Keefe said.
"When you want to win overseas, spinners are the ones who have to win you games. But go back and have a look at Shield cricket. I'm the leading wicket-taker this year with 16 wickets and played five games. It is a matter of urgency, if we are going to win over there to make sure we encourage these guys," he added.
According to O'Keefe, Mitchell Swepson and Ashton Agar have the potential to join Nathan Lyon in the Test side.
"I do have a lot of strong opinions because I'm so passionate about it. I want to see guys like Swepson, [Ashton] Agar really push Nathan Lyon in that Australian team. He's the next level but we have to start looking forward to the next generation and I think we can promote it more at home," O'Keefe said. (ANI)