Australia left-arm spinner Steve O’Keefe has announced retirement from first-class cricket with immediate effect after he wasn’t given a contract by New South Wales. O’Keefe was the highest-wicket taker among spinners for the 2019-20 Sheffield Shield season.

The veteran spinner took 16 wickets at 22.25 in five matches as NSW won their 47th title.

“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.

The 35-year-old finishes his career with 301 wickets in 88 FC matches.

He also played nine Tests for Australia with his best performance coming against India when he took match haul of 12/70 in Pune with the tourists registering a resounding 333-run win.

“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. When I think about my time playing cricket, that’s what I’ll miss most,” he added.

O’Keefe will continue playing T20 cricket.

“Steve has been a committed and consistent performer for the Blues over a long period of time,” Cricket NSW CEO Lee Germon said. “He is one of the most successful spinners ever to play for NSW, which earned him Australian selection and the captaincy of the Blues. On behalf of Cricket NSW I’d like to thank Steve for his great service to NSW and Australian cricket and look forward to him continuing his career with Manly and the Sixers.”