Heralded spinner Stephen O’Keefe has re-signed for another season with the Sydney Sixers as the club pursues a history-making third successive BBL title.
O’Keefe, 36, enters his 11th season with the club, joining Sixers’ captain Moises Henriques among a select few to play every season of the Big Bash.
The opportunity for more success with a “a great group” under mentor and good friend Greg Shipperd, and the buzz of Big Bash crowds, were all driving factors in O’Keefe saying “yes” to another season in magenta.
“I’m extremely grateful to Cricket NSW and (CNSW CEO) Lee Germon for giving me the opportunity to play another year of cricket with the Sixers and keep playing the game that I love,” O’Keefe said.
With the amazing atmosphere created by the more than 25,000 fans who attended February’s BBL Final at the SCG, an enduring memory for O’Keefe, the veteran can’t wait for more of the same should public health conditions allow.
“There’s nothing better than playing in front of your home crowd,” O’Keefe said.
“I’ve never experienced a crowd quite like last year’s Final. They were cheering dot balls.
“When I look back on it now, I’ve played a lot of cricket, they’re the things that you look back and go, ‘wow, that was such a great experience, how lucky are you to have experienced that’.
“So, to have five games at the SCG when we only played one last season, that’s going to be awesome.
“And to be able to spread the game up to Coffs Harbour, where the buzz is just as exciting, I’m looking forward to that as well.”
The BBL|11 fixture signalled a return to a full 61-game home and away schedule this summer, starting on December 5 at the SCG, when the Sixers will host the Melbourne Stars.
The tournament will end with the Final on January 28 and finish within the school holiday period, a decision fully supported by O’Keefe.
“I think Cricket Australia have got it right,” O’Keefe said commenting on this season’s fixture.
“It’s that younger male and female crowd that we want.
“We want to give parents that excuse of something to do in the holidays and I think by playing the majority of the tournament inside those school holiday periods, we’re going to see bigger numbers.
“When there’s a big crowd, it creates such a better atmosphere. That’s a big tick.”
Sydney Sixers BBL Sqaud
Head Coach: Greg Shipperd
Contracted for BBL|11: Moises Henriques (C), Sean Abbott, Daniel Christian, Tom Curran (ENG), Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Daniel Hughes, Stephen O'Keefe, Hayden Kerr, Nathan Lyron, Ben Manenti, Josh Philippe, Lloyd Pope, Jordan Silk.