Kerry O'Keeffe bigraphy, stories - Australian cricketer

Kerry O'Keeffe : biography

25 November 1949 -

Kerry James "Skull" O'Keeffe (born 25 November 1949, Hurstville, New South Wales) is a former Australian cricketer and now a commentator for ABC Radio. O'Keeffe played 24 Tests and 2 ODIs between 1971 and 1977.

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%) 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.

After varied careers post-cricket he is now a commentator on ABC Radio and occasionally the Nine Network. He is known for his humorous anecdotes, told in the manner of an after dinner speech at a cricketers club, and his distinctive laugh. He especially seems to enjoy working with overseas commentators such as India's Harsha Bhogle whom he confuses with his colourful Australian language. However when he concentrates on the game he shows 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.

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