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O'Keefe itching for Shield return with NSW

AAP logoAAP 2/11/2016 Matt Encarnacion

Stephen O'Keefe can tell you how many days it's been since his last drop of alcohol.

But what the left-arm spinner can't tell you is when he'll next wear the baggy green, and he's come to grips with the possibility of being overlooked for Test honours this summer.

O'Keefe will make his first-class comeback in NSW's Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia starting on Friday, almost three months after injuring his hamstring during the first Test in Sri Lanka.

Soon after he returned home with the injury that ended his tour, the left-armer was fined $10,000 by Cricket Australia for a drunken incident at a Sydney hotel.

His misery was then compounded when a finger injury forced him to miss the entire domestic one-day tournament, ruining any chance he had of a Test recall for the series-opening match against South Africa in Perth.

But of all the recent dramas, it was a smackdown from Australian chairman of selectors Rod Marsh that hit home the hardest.

"And rightfully so. He didn't mess about with what he had to say and it's what I deserved. I stuffed up and he let me know about it," O'Keefe told AAP.

"I respect him for doing that because him more than anyone else told me how much I let a lot of people down.

"I created that problem, so if that's the case, then so be it. I made a mistake and I'll put my hand up. If that costs me, then that's my problem."

It's also what forced him to put himself on an alcohol ban for the rest of the Australian summer, even if it's been 88 days of boredom so far.

But on the 89th, he begins the long road back to redemption.

"My body's certainly improved... mentally and physically," he said.

"I'd love to be able to sit here and tell you I can drink, but I know when I get to a certain point that I can't control my behaviours or actions. I gotta take responsibility for that.

"It's been okay for me. It's probably been a bit boring.

"It's as hungry as I've been since I've played cricket. I just want to get out there and play."

Teams:

NSW: Moses Henriques (capt), Doug Bollinger, Ryan Carters, Harry Conway, Trent Copeland, Ed Cowan, Ryan Gibson, Daniel Hughes, Nic Maddinson, Stephen O'Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Will Somerville.

WA: Michael Klinger (capt), Ashton Agar, Cameron Bancroft, Jason Behrendorff, Will Bosisto, Hilton Cartwright, Ryan Duffield, David Moody, Nathan Rimmington, D'Arcy Short, Ashton Turner, Jonathan Wells, Sam Whiteman.

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