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Steve O’Keefe was a success in the recent Australia’s tour of India, where he claimed 12 wickets in the opening Test at Pune in February © Getty Images (File Photo)

Australian skipper Steven Smith on Tuesday came up with a big reason behind the exclusion of off-spinner Steve O’Keefe from the squad which is due to tour Bangladesh later in August, as he says it was done so keeping an eye on the India tour in 2021. O’Keefe was a success in the recent Australia’s tour of India, where he claimed 12 wickets in the opening Test at Pune in February. However, he was shockingly dropped from the squad of Bangladesh tour, despite his tremendous success in the sub-continent. O’Keefe’s exclusion will make way for Ashton Agar, who play his first Test in four years, while rookie Mitchell Swepson too makes it to the squad. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Bangladesh vs Australia 2017, 1st Test at Dhaka

“I thought the first Test in India he bowled particularly well and at times throughout the series he bowled well without taking the wickets we would have liked. Now is probably a chance to move on to someone else and Ashton Agar’s going to get his opportunity. [Agar] has been around for a while now and it’s another chance for him to have a crack in spin-friendly conditions and hopefully he can go really well for us. I have [spoken to O’Keefe] and he was disappointed, which is fair enough. He understands where we’re heading,” Smith was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. Players resolve dispute with CA; India, Bangladesh tour and The Ashes 2017 to proceed as planned

“He’s getting a bit older now and our next tour back to India is in four years’ time and we’ve got to find the right group of guys that are going to be there for that series. That’s going to be an important one for us so hopefully we can continue to develop a few players in the meantime,” he added. Australia tour of Bangladesh: Steve O’Keefe’s exclusion ‘unjust’ and ‘not a good cricket decision’, says Andrew Jones

Meanwhile, New South Wales (NSW) CEO Andrew Jones said to News Ltd., “The feedback is it’s a cricket decision. The behaviour issue was an issue but it’s been dealt with. There’s no double jeopardy. Clearly he’s the best left-arm spinner in Australia. I think the facts speak for themselves. Agar will be a good cricketer … but this is not a good cricket decision.”

Swepson too had a few words to say following his selection in the squad for the Bangladesh tour. “‘SOK’ [O’Keefe] bowled really well in India and he’s done well in Shield cricket for a long time now, so I was actually very surprised to see him not get the nod again. But that’s obviously all up to the selectors,” he said to cricket.com.au.