Test spinner Stephen O'Keefe fined over drunken comments

SYDNEY: Cricket Australia has fined test spin bowler Stephen O'Keefe 20,000 Australian dollars ($15,100) for making "highly inappropriate comments" while intoxicated at a cricket awards ceremony, his second alcohol-related offense in less than a year.

Cricket New South Wales, which hosted last week's function, also banned O'Keefe from playing in Australia's domestic one-day competition next season.

In a statement Friday, Cricket Australia said O'Keefe will also be required to undergo counselling.

Last August, O'Keefe was fined $7,500 for misbehaving while under the influence of alcohol at a Sydney pub.

He was reported to have quit alcohol for six months in a bid to return to the test side, won back his place and took 19 wickets during Australia's recent test series in India, including hauls of 6-35 in both innings of the first test at Pune.

In a statement issued through Cricket Australia, O'Keefe apologized for his most-recent offense.

"At an official Cricket NSW function I became intoxicated and made highly inappropriate comments," he said. "There is no excuse for this and I take full responsibility and offer an unconditional apology.

I accept the sanctions imposed by Cricket Australia and Cricket NSW and welcome the chance to receive specialist counseling."