O’Keefe, 35, ended his 15-year-long first-class career at NSW, last playing for a New South Wales XI side against England Lions in early March. He was the most successful spinner in the 2019/20 Sheffield Shield season, capturing 16 wickets in five games at 22.
“I was disappointed when I was told that I wasn’t getting a contract, but I respect and accept the decision, so I have decided to retire from first-class cricket,” O’Keefe said in a statement.
“It’s been such a privilege to play for my country and captain my state, but above everything else I’m most proud to have played alongside some of the best blokes I’ve ever met.”
We pay tribute to SOK who is retiring from First Class cricket.https://t.co/h2abHjuUHN
— NSW Blues (@CricketNSWBlues) April 5, 2020
O’Keefe represented Australia in nine Tests from 2014 to 2017, and seven T20Is, all between 2010 and 2011. The left-arm spinner played all his Tests in Asia, and holds the distinction of capturing the best figures by an away spinner in India, having claimed match figures of 12-70 in the 2017 Pune Test.
On the back of a fruitful season, there was speculation around a possible return for O’Keefe for Australia’s Bangladesh tour this year, the likelihood of which is now uncertain due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As cricket continues to stay in limbo, O’Keefe decided against extending his red-ball career.
“It’s been such a privilege to play for my country and captain my state, but above everything else, I’m most proud to have played alongside some of the best blokes I’ve ever met,” he said. “When I think about my time playing cricket, that’s what I’ll miss most.”
He will continue to represent Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash.