14/04/2024

Ashton Agar is ready to lead Australia to the very end of the upcoming T20 World Cup. (Photo: Cricket Australia)

Most noted for his spin-bowling performances and lower order batting rather than his opening, Ashton Agar is preparing himself to open the batting more often for Australia across formats should the opportunities present

Most noted for his spin-bowling performances and lower-order batting, Ashton Agar is preparing to open the batting more often for Australia in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup.

Agar was named in the Australian XI last night for the first time since the World Cup match against England in place of front-line leg-spinner Adam Zampa who was being rested for the Canberra clash. In a shock to almost everyone, was listed to partner Ben McDermott at the top of the order to open the innings.

After Australia wrapped up the T20 series against Sri Lanka last night after claiming a six-wicket victory at Manuka Oval last night, Agar explained the rationale behind the promotion.

“It was really to keep our six and seven, in particular our number seven as an out and out batsman, you know having Wadey (Matthew Wade) coming in at number seven and me opening is a way we can still do that,” Agar said.

“Wadey’s one of the best opening batsmen, going around it’s just another way of holding that amount of batters that we play in the world cup.”

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Although a left-arm spinner by trade, Agar’s prowess with the bat in hand is well known to Australian and cricket fans. A fresh-faced teenager when he debuted for Australia in the first Ashes Test in 2013, picked as the frontline spinner famously scoring 98 runs on his debut at number 11.

The chance to open the batting in the T20 World Cup is one he is keen to take on and parlay that into other forms of the game in 2022.

“It was fun, I was a little bit nervous, it’s not something I’ve done a lot of, it was a cool opportunity, something new to think about and I guess a new area to improve on,” he said.

“It was a totally new experience having the new swinging ball moving around a little bit more in the powerplay.

“It’s another challenge, I think as a professional athlete that’s what drives you is the next sort of challenge that you get to chase, you get to improve and get better at.

“I’ve got the opportunity it’s about, when you do it it’s about building on that more and I guess present that option if that option does come again, so I’ve got a bit to think about but it’s a lot of positive stuff.”

Agar was told well in advance about the move and says that it was great for his growth within the game.

“I had plenty of notice,” he said. “I was told a few games ago actually that if I was picked there would be a chance that I would bat up the top of the order, it was said to me with real excitement and it was received with great excitement as well.

“I had good chats with Finchy (Aaron Finch) obviously, he’s been an opener for a long time.

“I chatted a fair bit to Stoin (Marcus Stoinis), a lot about the game and a lot about batting as well, the main messages were to not complicate things too much, I think if you move around too much if the ball is moving around too much that’s when you are in trouble.

“So I’ll try and stay still and play the good shots I guess if you get it through the field, the good part is there’s no-one out there to stop it and when the balls up trusting your swing as much as you can.

“You certainly feel like your mind is going a lot quicker, you don’t have the start out there as it was a new experience but as I got into it a little bit I was really starting to enjoy it.”

The final two T20 games against Sri Lanka are to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the fourth will be on Friday and the final game to be played on Sunday.

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