Former Australian cricketer Kerry O’Keeffe has revealed legendary batsman Doug Walters was the worst player he shared a room with on tour, labelling him a “roommate from hell”.
O’Keeffe and Walters represented Australia during the revolutionary World Series Cricket tournament in the 1970s. The pair collectively played 98 Tests and 30 ODIs for Australia.
The duo even competed alongside each other for New South Wales in the Sheffield Shield.
Although he played plenty of cricket with Walters during his career, O’Keefe told Fox League Live the star batsman was undeniably the worst roommate he’d ever bunked with on tour.
While today’s cricketers enjoy the luxury of a private room while on tour, that certainly wasn’t the case during the late 1970s when representing Australia wasn’t a full-time profession.
“Even though he was the best bloke I played cricket with, he was the worst roommate … He was an 80-a-day smoker at the time,” O’Keeffe said on Sunday.
“You would come back from a training session and think, ‘There’s a half bottle of coke on the coffee table’. I’d take a swig, and go, ‘Ah, it’s an ashtray’.
Walters loved his liquor as well – he famously drank 44 cans of beer on a flight to London before the 1977 Ashes tour.
Australian batsman David Boon allegedly bettered the feat 12 years later, consuming 52 beers on a trip to England in 1989 – but Walters is adamant he still holds the record.
“I don’t give credit to Boony because he started in Launceston. He went Launceston, Melbourne, Sydney to London,” Walters said on The Cricket Tragic in 2018.
“We didn’t count the ones we had on ground. We only called those practice sessions, so we were in a pretty good mood by the time we got there.”
O’Keefe reminisced on some of Walters’ “practice sessions” where he tormented hotel staff at 4am.
“You’re woken up at 3am with the popping of a beer can, ‘Are you having one?’ No, I’d reply – it’s 3am! Toasted sandwiches at 4am and early breakfast – but he hadn’t gone to bed,” O’Keefe said on Fox League Live.
“He terrorised room service – he’d often ask for toasted sangas. They’d say, ‘Sir, we don’t have a toaster’. He’d go, ‘No worries, I’ll come down and toast them myself’.
“He was a roommate from hell, because no matter how badly he did, he was the same. You wouldn’t know if he’d got a hundred or a duck.”
O’Keeffe – affectionately known as Skull – has become a sporting cult hero since retiring from professional cricket in 1980. He was a popular broadcaster for ABC Grandstand and currently commentates on Fox Cricket.
Originally published as Cricket icon reveals ‘roommate from hell’