It was a debut to remember for Ashton Agar. Included in the team primarily as a left-arm spinner for the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge in 2013, Agar walked in at number 11, with Australia reeling at 117 for 9 and scored an astonishing 98 – the highest Test score ever by a number 11 to bail his side out of trouble. He went on to make his debut even more memorable by picking up Alastair Cook as his maiden victim, thus becoming the first teenaged Australian spinner to take a Test wicket.
However, he was given a reality check in the very next game at Lord’s when he went wicketless and found him out of the team. It took him four years to get another call from the national team when he was included in the side for the tour of Bangladesh earlier this year. He was ignored again for the first four Ashes Tests but is now bracing up for his first Test at home after being recalled for the fifth and final Test in Sydney.
The 24-year old is now more experienced and is ready to grab the opportunity.
“I don’t look back on that [Trent Bridge] too much. They are great memories but I’ve definitely moved forward since then and I feel like I’ve improved as a player,” Agar said.
“I was a kid. I was 19 … I’m certainly better for the experience. I’ve grown up a lot since then. Life experience and cricket experience. I’m still reasonably young, but the time is now so I’m just going to give it a good crack,” he added.
Agar, who also toured India a couple of months ago for the limited-overs series, further said he is more confident about his bowling now.
“I feel better coming into a Test match now. It doesn’t feel too fresh or too out of the blue. Playing the one-dayers in India was a pretty whirlwind experience. So I certainly feel a lot better walking out onto the SCG now. We’ve worked on my action a little bit a few years ago. Its just been a lot of bowling and self-confidence,” he said.
“All you’ve got is yourself out there and it’s certainly grown. It’s more just understanding my basics and how to consistently bowl my best ball – which is what you have to do in Test cricket. You have to consistently hit that length and challenge the batter’s forward defence, so that’s what I’ve worked on,” he added.
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