Stephen O’Keefe is the latest NSW Blues player to make his Test debut.
The left armer has been chosen for the First Test against Pakistan in Dubai, beginning today.
Before play O’Keefe was presented with Baggy Green cap number 439 by Dean Jones.
O’Keefe’s selection is just reward for an outstanding Sheffield Shield season which saw him lead the competition with 41 wickets.
It was the first time a spinner has topped the Shield table since another Blues player, Stuart MacGill, almost a decade ago.
O’Keefe, 29, required a reconstruction to his non-bowling shoulder at the end of last season and proved his fitness for the current tour during an Australia A match in Townsville two months ago.
He was steadily making his way through Australia’s cricket ranks, playing seven T20 Internationals in 2010/11 and making regular appearances for Australia A.
However O’Keefe surprisingly dropped off the radar and was overlooked for last year’s tour of India despite a First Class bowling average of better than 25 and a useful lower order batting average of 28.
“At times you can be frustrated by that but ultimately I think I’m a better bowler now than I was one or two years ago,” O’Keefe said recently.
“It gives you that time without that external pressure to go and develop your game at the really high level of playing on Australian wickets against Australian batters.”