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Ashley Mallett had met Steve O’Keefe (above) at the Gabba in Brisbane, 18 months ago IANS

Former Australian spinner Ashley Mallett believes that there is no better sight than watching a young spinner working his way to the top. Mallett says that Steve O’Keefe reminds him of Derek Underwood. Mallett told Sportstar from Adelaide, O Keefe doesn t spin the ball much, but even then, he can get it in the right areas. That s something Underwood would do. In the first Test (in Pune), O Keefe was so accurate, that Indian batsmen found it tough to play. Mallett had met O’Keefe at the Gabba in Brisbane, 18 months ago. In less than an hour, they were both talking spin at the nets. And now, as both Australian and Indian cricket fans alike are going gaga over the youngster,Mallet feels happy for him. Full cricket scorecard: India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Bengaluru

His approach is quite subtle, and he can mix his pace quite appropriately. That mix certainly leaves the batsmen a bit confused as to whether to face it or just leave. That s his area of strength and O Keefe should keep that going, Mallett said.

Mallett is not alien to the Indian conditions as he holds a record of claiming 28 wickets in Australia’s tour to India in 1969-70. Speaking about the India’s performance in first Test, Mallett said, The Indian team was not too sure about whether to attack or defend. After a careless stint in the first innings, it looked as if it was a bit puzzled about what to do in the second innings. He further added that Virat Kohli-led side has the potential to perform a lot better in the second test in Bengaluru. Watch: Warner gets caught by mob of fans; Ivy Mae steals show with her tantrums

Mallett had predicted O’Keefe’s pro-efficiency over Nathan Lyon, even before the start of the series. O’Keefe’s 12-wicket haul on the spin-friendly track in Pune has proved his prediction right and attracted a lot of attention. So, when the next match begins at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, O’Keefe will probably feel the heat and will have to play under pressure.

However, Mallett believes that O’Keefe has the capability to handle pressure. Mallett said If you pick up 12 wickets, there will be pressure. More than that, the expectation will be phenomenal. But that shouldn t bother the young man, as he has his head on the shoulders,

Mallett, who is considered one of the best spin coaches in the international arena, hopes that even if O’Keefe may not able to deliver the magical innings, he would be able to maintain the touch.

While everyone is busy blaming the Pune pitch for the disheartening loss of India in the first Test, Mallett gave a witty answer to address the issue. He asserted Australia did an India on Indian surface. The Australians watched the ball closely and even took a leaf out of Indian spinners book. While the Pune wicket was tailor-made for Indian spinners, it was actually better used by the Aussies.

Mallett feels that the appointment of Sridharan Sriram as the spin consultant has been beneficial for the spinners. His presence has definitely helped our bowlers. Earlier, while touring India, the Australian spinners would bowl in wrong length, giving the batsmen long room. That would go on for hours, helping the batsman settle down. But this time, the changes have been subtle, he said, adding: This time, the boys used their common sense.

Even though Australia are ahead in the series by 1-0, many cricket experts believe that Steve Smith need to be cautious against India as the hosts have the potential to make a comeback in the series. However, Mallett says that the players must continue to attack. He feels that O’Keefe is in his best form and a partnership with Mitchell Starc will make the Australian bowling line-up more powerful.

Mallett, however, considers India are equally dangerous and expects India to fight back in the second Test. Speaking about the Indian side, Mallett said In Pune, both their innings were bad. They expected a bit too much from the wicket, which affected their chances. But with players like Ravichandran Ashwin around, it would surely play a lot better, He further added that the real series would begin from Saturday.

Sitting far away in Adelaide, Mallett will hope that O’Keefe performs well in the next Test as well. Nothing will be more satisfying for him than watching ‘the young man’ prove himself again.