‘I’m so bullish about this team’: O’Keefe backs Australia to win in India

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Former Australian spinner Steve O’Keefe has offered his advice to the current squad touring India and said that they need to be ready on their toes and strike when the iron is hot.

The first Test of the upcoming four-match series begins on February 9 in Nagpur.

“I think they went the sucker punch first-up where they could get ahead in the series,” O’Keefe told the Herald and The Age.

“I’m so bullish about this team,” he said. “A lot of those guys who are part of that (2017) experience would have learned so much from that. At times we got close, and the next time becomes a little bit easier. I believe that is going to be the case this time.

“We’re going over with a strong batting group who play spin really well. Marnus (Labuschagne) hasn’t played over there but is a good player of spin, we’ve seen that already. Cameron Green is elite, so I feel this group is strong.”

Recalling Australia’s win in the Pune Test of 2017, he said, “The pitch spun a great deal,” O’Keefe said. “Steve played an amazing innings.”

“It’s just interesting over there, you’ve just got to get ahead of the game, and it’s very hard to get ahead in India. But that’s the key.

“They very rarely give you an opportunity. And when you can sniff it, you’ve got to take full advantage of it. You’ve got to try and find a way to accelerate the game, so you’re so far ahead of them that they’re coming from well behind.”