O'Keefe sidelined for six weeks due to broken finger

ANI | Updated: Oct 16, 2017 10:37 IST

Melbourne [Australia], October 16 (ANI): Australia have been dealt a major blow ahead of the upcoming Ashes series against England, as spinner Steve O'Keefe has been sidelined for at least six weeks due to a broken finger.

The 32-year-old sustained the break to a finger on his right hand during grade cricket for Manly on the weekend and is now expected to miss at least the opening three rounds of the Sheffield Shield, ahead of the Ashes opener at the Gabba from November 23.

O'Keefe's injury has come as a huge blow to Australia's spin depth, which has already been weakened with the absence of Ashton Agar and Jon Holland because of their respective injuries.

While Agar is currently recovering from a surgery that he underwent after breaking his finger during Australia's recent tour of India, Holland underwent a knee surgery for "wear and tear" and was subsequently ruled out of the JLT One-Day Cup.

This means O'Keefe and Agar would have barely played, if at all before the second Ashes Test kicks off under lights starting on December 2,reports ESPNcricinfo.

Meanwhile, spinner Nathan Lyon too was ruled out of the New South Wales' clash with Victoria on Sunday due to a sore shoulder, but the NSW had played down the seriousness of the spinner's injury by describing his absence as "precautionary."

Although England are Ashes holders, they have lost two out of their past three tours against Australia Down Under by 0-5.

England will now be desperate to hit the ground running when the two sides meet at the Gabba. (ANI)