The spinner’s future will be decided in the coming weeks while Christian has added another trophy to his haul
Steve O’Keefe and Dan Christian have seen and done a lot in their cricket careers, but Saturday’s BBL title triumph at the SCG had extra special meaning.
It was a season that only brought Sydney Sixers home at the very end – the final against Perth Scorchers was the first and last match they could play in Sydney due to the Covid-19 border restrictions that have had to be navigated throughout a 61-match season that defied many hurdles to get completed.
For O’Keefe, who was a survivor from the Sixers’ first title in BBL01 along with captain Moises Henriques, it may yet prove the final outing of his professional career (although don’t rule him out just yet) with discussions to be had over his future.
“It would be hard to top that and we’ve got some great young so spinners so we’ll just wait and see what happens,” he said.
“During the week I said this was already in the top six [achievements] regardless of how the night went so this is No. 1 without a doubt, given the nature of the tournament, the pressure, the way we had to adapt and change, the way things moved around. The way we were able to adapt under those circumstances was unbelievable so this is easily the best in my BBL career.
“I’m not getting any younger and my body at times does fail me. So we’ll have a chat, let the dust settle, if they [Sixers] still see some value in me then great, then it will be up to me to whether I want to go round again.”
In the final, O’Keefe did what he so often does: tie up batsmen and produced four overs vital to the outcome of the match with 13 of the runs he conceded coming off one over.
And the same can be said of Christian as he secured a ninth T20 title. “The guy doesn’t know how to lose,” O’Keefe said, adding that the allrounder spoke to the team on the bus journey to remind every player what part they had played. “He just instills belief in the group.”
Christian has played T20 cricket for 17 teams (No. 18 will follow shortly with Karachi Kings in the PSL) but this campaign has meant more. A chance to come home in what is a globetrotting existence.
“Having the opportunity to come back and play for my home city was huge,” he said. “It was something I’ve really wanted to do for a long time, so to get that opportunity was really exciting and to go on and win the cup means a hell of a lot. From that perspective it’s probably a bit more [special] than usual when you do start with a new team.”
The game was sealed by the time he was given the final over, but he was able to add the finishing touches of a couple of wickets having contributed a handy 20 off 14 balls.
He had done the hard yards with the ball earlier, bowling the final over of the Powerplay where he conceded just five to pull back a rapid Scorchers start, the 10th and the second of the Power Surge in the 16th which he kept to six.
“That’s why I play these days, to try and win things,” he said. “I’m just really pleased for everyone involved with the team. From our first training session together out at Blacktown then going down to Hobart, we gelled really well.
“To play cricket the way we did all through the season, we got off to absolute flyer, top of the table for most of the season, a couple of hiccups at the end, but we fully deserved that result.”
Christian is on a two-year deal with the Sixers so will be back for more next summer. “Let’s keep him till he’s 45, he’s never going to get old, is he,” O’Keefe joked as he waits to find out, or decide, whether he’ll be there with him.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo