Former Australia cricketer Kerry O’Keeffe has apologised after appearing to belittle the standard of India’s premier domestic cricket competition, the Ranji Trophy.

Before India debutant Mayank Agarwal made a solid 76 on debut at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the Boxing Day Test, O’Keeffe had suggested the batsman had scored a triple century in the Ranji Trophy against “canteen staff”.

“Apparently he got the triple against the Railways canteen staff,” O’Keeffe, who is commentating for Fox Cricket, was quoted as saying on air, while in conversation with former Australia batsman Mark Waugh.

O’Keeffe was called out by journalists and others on social media for his comments.

The 69-year-old later apologised for his comments. “I was mentioning the runs Agarwal got in first class cricket in India and there’s been a reaction,” he said.

“There was no way I was demeaning the standard, it was tongue in cheek. There are lots of runs scored so apologies if anyone out there took offence,” he added.

Waugh was also criticised after he said a batting average of 50 in Indian domestic cricket was like 40 in Australia. He too clarified his comments after a backlash on Twitter.