England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 1st day July 10, 2013

Selectors beguiled by a natural

Ashton Agar has talked about looking up to Daniel Vettori and Australia are now hoping he can have a similar impact
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Sixteen years ago, a teenaged left-arm spinner was chosen to face England. Daniel Vettori had played a mere two first-class matches in his life, but his natural aptitude for spin was abundant and would be demonstrated on a debut that would be New Zealand's only ray of light in an abject defeat. Wisden was to note that Vettori "performed with considerable maturity, more indeed than some of the senior players".

Back then, Ashton Agar was not even four years old. But there are unmistakable shades of the young Vettori about his rapid rise to a stunning selection for the first Test against England, and the way he has convinced the decision makers of Australian cricket that he is ready for such a tall task. Selectors, coaches and team-mates have been beguiled by Agar's languid, flowing bowling action and similarly attractive batting, while his wiry, athletic frame lends itself to sharp work in the outfield just as much as the delivery of a looping, teasing arc with the ball.

In the words of Agar's state coach Justin Langer: "Besides his infectious personality and energy for the game, Ashton's strength comes in his natural and free style of play. Whether with the bat or ball his movements are reminiscent of the great athletes. Many young players today look very tense and mechanical in their movements. They often look 'over-coached' and are unable to move with freedom, power and speed. When you observe the great athletes there are few who look like this. While Ashton has much to learn ... his free movements give him the chance to fulfil his undoubted promise."

Melbourne born, Agar's Sri Lankan heritage provided him with something of an affinity for the spinning ball, and at the Richmond Cricket Club he suggested plenty of ability, learning to ply his trade among older heads from the occasion of his first grade debut at 15. It was not all a completely smooth progression, however, including a spell of four games in the club's second XI during 2011-12. But he was by then representing Australia as an Under-19, and he was selected for the World Cup in Queensland in mid-2012.

It was there that Western Australia's talent spotters chose to swoop, taking advantage of the fact that a logjam of spin bowlers existed in Victoria. Agar, also a budding law student, took the chance to pursue his cricket with maximum vigour. "It was just opportunity to play first-class cricket," Agar said of his move last summer. "They had Maxwell, Cameron White bowls, David Hussey bowls, and Muirhead and Holland as well. There were too many spinners over there so I decided to move. Fortunately it's working out in my favour."

Initially, Agar was still a bowler in reserve. Michael Beer had played for Australia in the West Indies and done well amid a sickly Perth Scorchers campaign in the Champions League. But in late January, following the Big Bash League, Beer injured his shoulder in a training mishap, ruling him out of contention for the forthcoming India Test tour thrusting Agar into the Warriors side for a match against New South Wales in Blacktown. It was to be an influential outing.

While the selectors were keeping one eye on the Blues' Steve O'Keefe, Agar would earn rave reviews that reached the national selector John Inverarity. Figures of 3-103 from 37.3 overs do not sound like much, particularly when lined up next to O'Keefe's match haul of eight wickets. But the guile, variation and natural ability shown by Agar was considerable, best illustrated by a sharp-spinning ball that utterly confounded the young left-hander Scott Henry. It would not be long before Agar was boarding a plane to India as a developmental member of the touring squad.

Two weeks in the subcontinent gave Agar a valuable grounding, and also the chance to become acquainted with members of the team. "I got a lot out of it, I definitely learned a lot, especially off their spinners, you have to be very patient and bowl a lot of good balls to get wickets," Agar said. "All the same principles apply wherever you bowl. If you're very accurate and you put enough balls in the right areas you should get wickets."

Agar did not quite manage to surge past Xavier Doherty and Nathan Lyon to earn a permanent place on the tour, but his bowling in the nets and warm-up matches stuck in the mind of Inverarity, a former tall slow left-arm bowler himself. Further evidence of his promise would arrive on his return home in Western Australia's Sheffield Shield victories in Brisbane and Adelaide, where Agar also contributed valuable runs.

On the Australia A tour of England that preceded the Ashes, Agar had the chance to impress another two influential figures. The tour manager Rod Marsh was a selector at the start of the tour, and the batting coach Darren Lehmann would join him on the panel, at the expense of the deposed Mickey Arthur, by the end of it. Like Langer, they were struck by his subtlety, his rhythm. While much attention was taken by Fawad Ahmed, and Lyon showed his own strong form, Agar beguiled quietly but steadily. To them he looked a natural, and a tantalising approximation of the young Vettori.

"It's all just happened, there hasn't been too much technical work, coaches have been good that way and have just let my action and everything take care of itself," Agar said of his style. "It's more the game sense and game awareness that has been tinkered with, and just experience really. Justin Langer's been really keen for me to just stay the way I am and keep bowling. He just says 'keep bowling, stay loose, stay loose', that's his advice to me, so that's what I've tried to do."

If the comparison with Vettori seems hasty, it has been made before. Nor is Agar uncomfortable to be mentioned in the same sentence. He did so himself, earlier this year: "Of left-arm spinners Dan Vettori is the one I need to try to emulate. His subtle changes in pace and his accuracy are what get him a lot of wickets, so if I can be anything like that it'd be really good."

By choosing him at Trent Bridge, Australia's selectors are gambling that Agar is ready to do so now.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • randikaayya on July 11, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    Grandson of the Old Rajana Mr. Nala Hewawissa, Ashton Agar hails from a great pinning tradition from the Hill Capital of Sri Lanka, Kandy. The same city that also produced the worlds greatest ever spinner Muttiah Muralitharan! His grand father palyed in the 1942 Dharmaraja College cricket team who became Sri Lanka schools champions! Best of luck in all endeavors!

  • Dr.Qwert on July 12, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Loved every minute of the knock, but at the end of the day he has to be performing with the ball. I feel a similar way to where I started, that he's still a little bit too raw. The option which may have presented itself however, is with his evident batting talent on top of that of the other "tail-enders" in Starc, Siddle and Pattinson is that maybe four almost all-rounders equate to an ability to play a fifth bowler in Bird or Johnson (another quality tail bat) to make up for the deficiency.

    Jackthelad, pull your head in and give credit where it's due. He had Anderson, Swann, Finn and Broad to face... so the half is presumably a combination of the injured Broad and Finn's love of the innocuous short ball.

  • bentleyjack on July 12, 2013, 0:42 GMT

    Obviously @jackthelad you are not a true test cricket fan, merely an English fan who has no time for any other test cricket achievement by any other test player. Anyone who witnessed Agar's innings will say it was one of composure and maturity against one of the best bowling attacks in world cricket an on debut. Whether you barrack for Australia, England or whoever, if you are a true cricket fan you can admit that you witnessed something special in Agar's innings. He is not a No 11 batsmen by any stretch as he showed in his recent season for WA, he has got considerable talent which Boof, and many others saw and took the chance on him on the biggest stage and now reaping those rewards.

    Well done Ashton, any true test cricket fan was willing you on.

  • JIMCHEW on July 11, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    Watched Agar's every stroke - after midnight in New Zealand. Prayed he would get to 50. Really! 98! That is absolutely brilliant - the maturity of a seasoned cricketer. Much like Vettori in style.

  • on July 11, 2013, 23:14 GMT

    More than the 98, the grace with which he accepted the dismissal (with a smile and a shrug) that is to be admired (and hopefully, emulated by the Trott-episode English). Good luck going forward, Agar.

  • Greatest_Game on July 11, 2013, 21:18 GMT

    @ jackthelad. Glad to see that you enjoyed the excitement of Agar's innings, & the 'feel good' lift it gave to this somewhat innocuous game of batsmen throwing their wickets away to club level bowling. The true wicket taking balls have been overshadowed by the dross delivered by genuine test level bowlers.

    Your observation that "A big innings from a 10 or 11 (which they are unlikely ever to repeat) doesn't make up for an inability to bowl at Test level" indeed has logic. A 10 tor 11 is unlikely to repeat a big innings as it was either a fluke, or they repeat it as a "somewhere between 1 and 7." An example is a chap named Kevin Pietersen, who started his career as a rather ordinary spinner who could bat. His frustration that his batting was not taken seriously led him to a different continent, hoping to escape the perception that he was little more than an ordinary spinner. He found fame as a batsman of rare talent, yet still turns his arm over occasionally, taking the odd wicket.

  • jackthelad on July 11, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    i see people don't like any breath of realism, but shall we remember that Agar was picked as a bowler, and his bowling has been - shall we say - innocuous? A big innings from a 10 or 11 (which they are unlikely ever to repeat) doesn't make up for an inability to bowl at Test level. Which is what Agar has got.

  • UglyIndian on July 11, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    Well..his batting definitely has a Yuvraj Singh-like flourish to it. Lets hope he turns out to be a much better bowler though :)

  • jackthelad on July 11, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    Yeah, right, we'll see. His bowling has been pretty ordinary and I suspect if he'd had more than 2 1/2 bowlers to face (and in a decent Australia team) his batting might not have seemed so spectacular. Time will tell.

  • Cyril_Knight on July 11, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    The romance that only Test cricket can bring! You don't get stories like this in your IPL!

    Some players are natural to the big stage and he has single handedly got Australia back in the match on the biggest stage of all. Without that "fairytale" innings, as in unbelievable, unexpected, unlikely to be repeated, Australia would be well out of it already.

  • randikaayya on July 11, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    Grandson of the Old Rajana Mr. Nala Hewawissa, Ashton Agar hails from a great pinning tradition from the Hill Capital of Sri Lanka, Kandy. The same city that also produced the worlds greatest ever spinner Muttiah Muralitharan! His grand father palyed in the 1942 Dharmaraja College cricket team who became Sri Lanka schools champions! Best of luck in all endeavors!

  • Dr.Qwert on July 12, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    Loved every minute of the knock, but at the end of the day he has to be performing with the ball. I feel a similar way to where I started, that he's still a little bit too raw. The option which may have presented itself however, is with his evident batting talent on top of that of the other "tail-enders" in Starc, Siddle and Pattinson is that maybe four almost all-rounders equate to an ability to play a fifth bowler in Bird or Johnson (another quality tail bat) to make up for the deficiency.

    Jackthelad, pull your head in and give credit where it's due. He had Anderson, Swann, Finn and Broad to face... so the half is presumably a combination of the injured Broad and Finn's love of the innocuous short ball.

  • bentleyjack on July 12, 2013, 0:42 GMT

    Obviously @jackthelad you are not a true test cricket fan, merely an English fan who has no time for any other test cricket achievement by any other test player. Anyone who witnessed Agar's innings will say it was one of composure and maturity against one of the best bowling attacks in world cricket an on debut. Whether you barrack for Australia, England or whoever, if you are a true cricket fan you can admit that you witnessed something special in Agar's innings. He is not a No 11 batsmen by any stretch as he showed in his recent season for WA, he has got considerable talent which Boof, and many others saw and took the chance on him on the biggest stage and now reaping those rewards.

    Well done Ashton, any true test cricket fan was willing you on.

  • JIMCHEW on July 11, 2013, 23:56 GMT

    Watched Agar's every stroke - after midnight in New Zealand. Prayed he would get to 50. Really! 98! That is absolutely brilliant - the maturity of a seasoned cricketer. Much like Vettori in style.

  • on July 11, 2013, 23:14 GMT

    More than the 98, the grace with which he accepted the dismissal (with a smile and a shrug) that is to be admired (and hopefully, emulated by the Trott-episode English). Good luck going forward, Agar.

  • Greatest_Game on July 11, 2013, 21:18 GMT

    @ jackthelad. Glad to see that you enjoyed the excitement of Agar's innings, & the 'feel good' lift it gave to this somewhat innocuous game of batsmen throwing their wickets away to club level bowling. The true wicket taking balls have been overshadowed by the dross delivered by genuine test level bowlers.

    Your observation that "A big innings from a 10 or 11 (which they are unlikely ever to repeat) doesn't make up for an inability to bowl at Test level" indeed has logic. A 10 tor 11 is unlikely to repeat a big innings as it was either a fluke, or they repeat it as a "somewhere between 1 and 7." An example is a chap named Kevin Pietersen, who started his career as a rather ordinary spinner who could bat. His frustration that his batting was not taken seriously led him to a different continent, hoping to escape the perception that he was little more than an ordinary spinner. He found fame as a batsman of rare talent, yet still turns his arm over occasionally, taking the odd wicket.

  • jackthelad on July 11, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    i see people don't like any breath of realism, but shall we remember that Agar was picked as a bowler, and his bowling has been - shall we say - innocuous? A big innings from a 10 or 11 (which they are unlikely ever to repeat) doesn't make up for an inability to bowl at Test level. Which is what Agar has got.

  • UglyIndian on July 11, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    Well..his batting definitely has a Yuvraj Singh-like flourish to it. Lets hope he turns out to be a much better bowler though :)

  • jackthelad on July 11, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    Yeah, right, we'll see. His bowling has been pretty ordinary and I suspect if he'd had more than 2 1/2 bowlers to face (and in a decent Australia team) his batting might not have seemed so spectacular. Time will tell.

  • Cyril_Knight on July 11, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    The romance that only Test cricket can bring! You don't get stories like this in your IPL!

    Some players are natural to the big stage and he has single handedly got Australia back in the match on the biggest stage of all. Without that "fairytale" innings, as in unbelievable, unexpected, unlikely to be repeated, Australia would be well out of it already.

  • Woodinville20 on July 11, 2013, 14:39 GMT

    I hope this has solved Australia's problem of finding spin since Warne retired. On debut in the ashes, what an innings mate!!!

  • on July 11, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    Hard luck mate,i would have loved to see you get a ton, and that,s from a Pom

  • Nods on July 11, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    OUCH!!!!He's Out...goddamn those two runs.was eagerly waiting for the moment when he would have raised his bat in response to the earth shattering response... :(

  • on July 11, 2013, 14:02 GMT

    Nathan Lyon, say goodbye to your career. Ashton Agar has arrived. Who needs a spinner when he can bat at no.11 making a world record score of 98.

  • Whatsgoinoffoutthere on July 11, 2013, 13:58 GMT

    I have never derived less pleasure from an Australian batsman getting out. Brilliant innings.

    And England's live rubber syndrome bites again.

  • H_Z_O on July 11, 2013, 13:22 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaul I agree, move Agar up to 7, drop Cowan and bring in Lyon. Don't think Agar's bowling is quite there yet, but if he can bat like this at 7 and bowls a few overs to support the four frontline bowlers, he could be very handy.

  • on July 11, 2013, 13:16 GMT

    Lyon's career is in danger if this person takes wickets and bats well. He's already done the latter but hasn't done the former. He shouldn't be batting at number 11, more at 7 or 8.

  • Surajrises on July 11, 2013, 12:57 GMT

    Brilliant batting by Ashton Agar. Any other player would have lost confidence after a bad day in the office with the ball but this boy is a tough cookie. He has shown all the batsmen how to bat on that pitch. Real treat to watch for the eyes. Good job Agar, keep up the good work and go for the CENTURY...

  • on July 11, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    He's batted really well. I slept when he was bowling, but will remain skeptical about his tweakerism until I see proof to the contrary. but emulating Vettori? noooooooo! we need someone who takes wickets, not 2-60 off 40 overs.

  • on July 11, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    He has a very cool head on his young shoulders and is a breath of fresh air for the damaged cricket brand in Australia.

  • cric_options on July 11, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    Oh my ! I have not seen a young player bat like that in a long time. This is what free flow is all about. Coming up at number 11 ! Way to go, young lad. You are the future of Aussie cricket.

  • Chris_P on July 11, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    If nothing else, his batting has been a delight to watch.

  • on July 11, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    Wow...I am never going to doubt Lehmann again!! with the revelation of Agar's batting; he could now become a genuine allrounder and move down to number 7 allowing Australia to play an extra bowler; maybe even Lyon. Dont laugh people. IAM SERIOUS!!

  • glance_to_leg on July 11, 2013, 12:24 GMT

    Absolute joy to watch. I want England to win desperately, but I would jettison any hope of this if this young man, who clearly plays cricket as it should be played, scores a century. His batting has just made me late for an important meeting, but frankly I don't care.

  • FLIPPER_99 on July 11, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Well well, looks like the Sri lankan gene in him has given him the hint of unorthodox free flowing cricket style which i think is just what the Aussies need at the moment in their team.

  • py0alb on July 11, 2013, 10:22 GMT

    He runs up too straight, it means he has to make a quite extravagent pivot as he enters his bowling stride. Extravagent pivots are rarely executed consistently from ball to ball, therefore as soon as I saw his action I predicted at least two misdirected deliveries an over. Lo and behold, that is what we found.

    I'll bet his straight bowling action was a coach's intervention who has just read about the benefits of gun barrel straight run ups and didn't realise it only applied to seamers.

  • _Australian_ on July 11, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    I for one am very happy with his selection. I just hope the selectors show some patience. I am also happy that perhaps Front-Foot-Lunge will now stop rabbiting on about Lyon, although I am sure he will find fault with this nice kid.

  • Cyril_Knight on July 11, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    He won't go far at the highest level unless he sorts out the angle at which the seam leaves his hand. It is too straight, leading to overspin, which can rush batsmen as a variation but means he won't spin it round corners, Paul Harris had this habit. Compare to Swann who is always a perfect 90 degrees meaning more of seam hits the ground, so gets great turn.

    It is obvious looking at the way he grips the ball, that the gap between thumb and forefinger is too big, this gets that lovely arc of flight that feels and looks great, but doesn't help with accuracy or consistent turn.

  • on July 11, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    Watching him bowl at Trent Bridge convinces me that Agar is a natural athlete and has an excellent left armer's curve in flight reminiscent of Bishen Bedi His follow through could be better to give him that zip He has the variation With accuracy he could be Australia's match winning spinner Having blooded him one hopes the Australian selectors will be patient with him

  • Wefinishthis on July 11, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    Great article - but wrong about one thing. The selectors were NEVER looking at Steve O'Keefe. He's about 10th on the list of spinners in their eyes right now, despite being no.1 by a long way on everyone else's. It's just plain offensive to anyone who follows cricket in Australia. They just don't want to pick him now because of their arrogance and not wanting to admit that they (both the old and new panels) were wrong in not picking him for the last ashes series where he ripped through this same English lineup in a warmup match. They didn't even have an excuse for not picking him other than "we look deeper than [the statistics]" - and that right there is why SA are no.1 and Aus are not - because the selectors are ignoring the facts and just taking punts on different players creating the revolving door effect and stupid picks like Beer/Doherty. It's a bit like the snub of Rogers and D.Hussey, where you could see how embarassed they were to have to admit that Rogers deserved another go.

  • Badgerofdoom on July 11, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    The Aussie selectors just keep picking totally inexperienced spinners in the hope that one of them will turn out to be a great bowler and then discarding them the moment it becomes clear that, surprise, spinners with almost no first class experience is not quite ready for test cricket. Perhaps Agar will turn out to be the real thing but its hard to imagine the selectors have any sort of plan given the way they just discarded Lyon the moment he had got a bit of experience under his belt.

  • Vilander on July 11, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    0k, so he is selected because he looks like Dan Vetorri..ok but can he bowl like him too...

  • US_Indian on July 11, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    Hope he is another Warne in the making albeit a left arm version and if he sticks and Fawad clicks and with lyon already there they will have plenty in the form of spin to back up their pacers and also the aussies can get enough practice of playing spin.

  • C.Gull on July 11, 2013, 2:10 GMT

    Agar is all well and good, but the comparison with O'Keefe's figures is the real story here. I don't care how natural or promising a player looks, the fact is that O'Keefe continues to rack up superior results, actual performances on the scorecard and on a statistical analysis, that make his non-selection one of the great modern mysteries of Australian cricket.

  • AidanFX on July 11, 2013, 1:47 GMT

    I am happy for the young man and its great Australia are unearthing very young talent in the likes of Agar and Cummins and others. But in all the hype, countless articles produced and ink wasted - telling us how things are going to change now Leeman is in charge; some things have not changed. Clearly this much has not changed - the search for the next "Shane Warne". Seriously, I just don't get it. What more can a player do if his last Test of a 9 wicket haul including 7 in an innings will not get him a game. The team needs some stability and Lyon is a proven player who's work rate is great. He is no SW. But he has good control and is ever improving. The fact that he was able to recover from a poor start in India - shows he has maturity and good character. I am happy for Agar but he is not presently a better bowler than Lyon. The chances are he may surpass him soon enough but I am over this indecision about how we treat our spinners

  • on July 10, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    The Aussies have a great tradition of "blooding" spinners early and then casting them aside when they are found wanting at the highest level. IMHO the art of spin takes longer to master than pace bowling and consequently maturity is delayed by a few years. A wayward fast bowler may still escape punishment but a wayward spinner gets embarrassingly hammered. Let us hope he gets given a long run.

  • on July 10, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    I don't understand this selection at all. You have O'Keefe who has played 30 FC games and taken 80-odd wickets at a healthy average; why do people like Agar get the nod ahead of him? O'Keefe is a left-arm orthodox spinner as well, isn't he? He's 28 years old, so has plenty of cricket in him. The bigger question is, what the hell has Nathan Lyon done wrong to not get picked? Agar seems to have potential, but you must complete your apprenticeship by playing a decent amount of FC cricket before being considered for Test level. Since when has Cricket Australia started following the Pakistani system? In Pakistan it is justified, because FC cricket in Pakistan is of a ridiculously low standard. But the same can't be said about the Sheffield Shield. Australian cricket's revolving door selections over the past few years have given the indication that the selectors are fighting hard to regain the lost glory of the pre-2007 era, instead of trying to show patience and build a proper team.

  • pomkul on July 10, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    I think that not a good idea. If i have lyon then why r u playing agar. And i can't understood why usmaan khowaja is in the squad, i think he is the only one player who r in the squad bt did not give the chance to play in 18 month. I think this is a world record.

  • on July 10, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    You have to feel for O'Keefe. A FC bowling average of 26 in an era when Australia have been trying everyone (Agar is the 21st man to bowl spin for Australia in a full international since Warne retired) and he still can't get into the Test side

  • on July 10, 2013, 19:18 GMT

    Achton Agar looks promising, and better than Lyon. Hope to see a few 5 wicket hauls in this series

  • PACERONE on July 10, 2013, 19:15 GMT

    He should look at the great Gary who started as a left arm slow bowler.

  • PACERONE on July 10, 2013, 19:15 GMT

    He should look at the great Gary who started as a left arm slow bowler.

  • on July 10, 2013, 19:18 GMT

    Achton Agar looks promising, and better than Lyon. Hope to see a few 5 wicket hauls in this series

  • on July 10, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    You have to feel for O'Keefe. A FC bowling average of 26 in an era when Australia have been trying everyone (Agar is the 21st man to bowl spin for Australia in a full international since Warne retired) and he still can't get into the Test side

  • pomkul on July 10, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    I think that not a good idea. If i have lyon then why r u playing agar. And i can't understood why usmaan khowaja is in the squad, i think he is the only one player who r in the squad bt did not give the chance to play in 18 month. I think this is a world record.

  • on July 10, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    I don't understand this selection at all. You have O'Keefe who has played 30 FC games and taken 80-odd wickets at a healthy average; why do people like Agar get the nod ahead of him? O'Keefe is a left-arm orthodox spinner as well, isn't he? He's 28 years old, so has plenty of cricket in him. The bigger question is, what the hell has Nathan Lyon done wrong to not get picked? Agar seems to have potential, but you must complete your apprenticeship by playing a decent amount of FC cricket before being considered for Test level. Since when has Cricket Australia started following the Pakistani system? In Pakistan it is justified, because FC cricket in Pakistan is of a ridiculously low standard. But the same can't be said about the Sheffield Shield. Australian cricket's revolving door selections over the past few years have given the indication that the selectors are fighting hard to regain the lost glory of the pre-2007 era, instead of trying to show patience and build a proper team.

  • on July 10, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    The Aussies have a great tradition of "blooding" spinners early and then casting them aside when they are found wanting at the highest level. IMHO the art of spin takes longer to master than pace bowling and consequently maturity is delayed by a few years. A wayward fast bowler may still escape punishment but a wayward spinner gets embarrassingly hammered. Let us hope he gets given a long run.

  • AidanFX on July 11, 2013, 1:47 GMT

    I am happy for the young man and its great Australia are unearthing very young talent in the likes of Agar and Cummins and others. But in all the hype, countless articles produced and ink wasted - telling us how things are going to change now Leeman is in charge; some things have not changed. Clearly this much has not changed - the search for the next "Shane Warne". Seriously, I just don't get it. What more can a player do if his last Test of a 9 wicket haul including 7 in an innings will not get him a game. The team needs some stability and Lyon is a proven player who's work rate is great. He is no SW. But he has good control and is ever improving. The fact that he was able to recover from a poor start in India - shows he has maturity and good character. I am happy for Agar but he is not presently a better bowler than Lyon. The chances are he may surpass him soon enough but I am over this indecision about how we treat our spinners

  • C.Gull on July 11, 2013, 2:10 GMT

    Agar is all well and good, but the comparison with O'Keefe's figures is the real story here. I don't care how natural or promising a player looks, the fact is that O'Keefe continues to rack up superior results, actual performances on the scorecard and on a statistical analysis, that make his non-selection one of the great modern mysteries of Australian cricket.

  • US_Indian on July 11, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    Hope he is another Warne in the making albeit a left arm version and if he sticks and Fawad clicks and with lyon already there they will have plenty in the form of spin to back up their pacers and also the aussies can get enough practice of playing spin.

  • Vilander on July 11, 2013, 5:34 GMT

    0k, so he is selected because he looks like Dan Vetorri..ok but can he bowl like him too...