New Delhi: Ashton Agar, just 19, wouldn't have thought to make rapid strides in Australian cricket, none though as big as being asked to join the national team on its Test tour of India.
Agar, a left-arm spinner of Sri Lankan origin who changed his base from Melbourne to Perth in order to get an early chance to start his first-class career, has just played one four-day match, but his bowling impressed the Cricket Australia chairman of selectors, John Inverarity so much that he was added to the touring party part of a development process. Agar is also expected to play the team's warm-up game next week.
It's not just Inverarity who is impressed by the young Agar. Australian great Greg Chappell, who is known to be an advocate of youth cricket, and former Australia opener Justin Langer also consider the young left-arm spinner someone who should be groomed for future. "Ashton reminds me very much of a young Vettori. He is very loose in the way he bowls and bats and fields," Langer said. "He is a very aggressive spin bowler. He spins the ball, he loops it up, he has got a good arm ball and he is looking to take wickets. That's a great combination."
Agar picked up three wickets in his solo first-class game against New South Wales and also made 34 not out. He also has five wickets to his credit in the two limited-overs domestic games he has played.
Australia will play two warm-up games before the commencement of the four-Test series in India. The first Test starts from February 22 in Chennai, while the other three will be played in Hyderabad, Mohali and Delhi respectively.