Sixers tweaker Steve O’Keefe has been cleared of a fractured left leg, but will not play in Wednesday’s clash against the Melbourne Renegades in Geelong.
O’Keefe had an X-ray following Monday night’s loss to the Perth Scorchers after he landed awkwardly while fielding a ball at short fine leg, and did not fly with the team to Melbourne on Tuesday.
Instead he travelled to Sydney for an MRI scan, which will determine the extent of his injury and whether it rules him out of the Big Bash season.
The injury was a further blow to the Sixers’ horror season which now sits at four losses from as many starts, meaning the tricky Renegades’ clash has become a must-win fixture.
Veteran O’Keefe went down in the sixth over when his left leg seemed to catch in the ground under his body as the Sixers unsuccessfully attempted to defend 6-147. He eventually limped from the field with a lower leg injury.
“It almost looked like he’d blown his Achilles or something like that, it looked like someone had basically shot him,” teammate Jordan Silk said.
“It’s hard to know the full extent of it, it’s good that he’s been cleared of any breaks.
“You lose a lot of experience [without O’Keefe in the team]. He’s a high quality bowler and a great lower order batter for us as well and he’s been really effective in that part this year.
“It’s super disappointing for the Sixers and also for SOK himself, bit of a cruel blow. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious and we can get him back for the back end of this tournament.”
Daniel Hughes is in doubt for the Renegades clash after missing the Scorchers game with a quad complaint, while captain Moises Henriques remains on the sidelines indefinitely for personal reasons.
The Sixers have brought in young spinner Soumil Chhibber from their academy as cover for O’Keefe.
“He’s been around in the Sixers Academy for the last three or four seasons and he’s played in a lot of our practice matches and has performed quite well,” Silk said of Chhibber.
“He gives us a different sort of option, maybe an option we haven’t really seen at the Sixers, being a leg spinner. It’s really exciting for him and if he gets the opportunity at Geelong I’m sure he’ll do well, it seems to be the theme of that leg spinners this tournament are doing really well.”
Monday’s loss to Perth marked a remarkable fall from grace for the Sixers, who just 11 months earlier travelled to the WACA to contest the Big Bash final.
Their batting has been particularly disappointing, with Silk the only played to have crafted a half century for the Sixers in four matches this season.
“We’re really close [to a win],” Silk said.
“We’ve bowled really well this year, our batting’s been a bit of a disappointment just losing too many wickets early. I thought the way we batted yesterday was a step in the right direction for our team.
“I’m sure that if we keep playing like that and we’re able to string consistent performances with bat and ball then that’ll help us register our first win.
“At the moment it’s pretty disheartening but we’ve got to turn it around quickly for the Renegades tomorrow night.”