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Agar sets sights on lead spinning role

Australian and Western Australian left arm orthodox spinner Ashton Agar hopes to be the heir apparent to current Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon as Australia’s number one spin option in Test match cricket, on top of his roles in the national white ball formats.

The 26 year old, who was rewarded for a great twelve months with a Cricket Australia contract earlier this month said he would love to assume the number one spin mantle down the track, but has his sights set on maintaining his form across all formats in the mean time.

“I would certainly back myself in to fill that void whenever Gazza retires,” Agar told Sports Drive on Monday.

“But at the end of the day you have to be playing good cricket at the time, taking your chances in red ball cricket when you get the chance to perform. I think we all need to respect that Gazza is the number one spinner in the world and you can’t expect whoever comes in to perform at the level that he’s been able to.”

“That comes with a lot of experience. He’s played nearly 100 Test matches. It’s taken time for him to get to this level so there has to be a bit of perspective around that.”

Several current and former players have been critical of the lack of assistance for spinners in first class cricket, due to either green pitches or the use of the English Dukes ball in the back half of the season.

Agar conceded more needed to be done to help spinners in Australia.

“It’s tough isn’t it? Every ground has there individual characteristics. You don’t just rock up to grounds knowing right this is going to be a spinners wicket or this might go and slow which will help a spinner,” he said.

“You don’t see those conditions a lot, and Australian spinners are at a disadvantage when faced with those conditions because you haven’t had a lot of experience. We do need to be careful with our spinners because they are crucial to the world game and crucial to Australia performing well overseas.”

“Maybe we could see tracks with some little more assistance for the spinners would be really good, not only for our spinners but for our batsmen as well.”

Agar, who claimed a T20I hat-trick against South Africa in Johannesburg in February, said the enforced break from cricket had given him time to reflect on his cricketing journey, having debuted for Australia in Test cricket at just 19 years of age in 2013, famously striking 98 batting at number eleven at Trent Bridge in an Ashes Test match.

“I’ve thought about it a bit recently, I am really proud of how far I’ve come and what I’ve been able to handle in my career. I’m 26 now but to play Test cricket when I was 19, to play all three formats for Australia by the time I was 23, it’s a lot of pressure for a young guy to handle on the international stage,” he said.

“There’s plenty of ups and downs but to be where I am now, I’m really happy with how I’ve been able to progress and handle the pressure that comes with performing on the international stage at a young age. It certainly holds me in good stead in the sweet spot of my career to perform strongly.”

IMAGE: The Australian.


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