Ashton Agar could be the fall guy once again as Australia continue their preparations for the T20 World Cup 2022. With just a few months to go before the tournament gets underway, key decisions are being made about who will be the lead spinner.
The Aussies are the reigning World Cup champions and in the absence of Adam Zampa, Agar has been called up for the upcoming three T20 and five ODI matches in Sri Lanka.
Zampa is due to missing the tour due to the imminent arrival of his first child and this will give Agar a chance to stake his case to be included in the T20 World Cup starting line-up.
It is somewhat surprising that Agar could be snubbed on the biggest T20 stage for Australia as his figures are quite impressive. He has amassed 46 wickets from his past 43 T20 outings, boasting an average of 21.15 and an economy rate of 6.50.
If we are to drill that down to the past two years, Agar has 29 wickets at an average of 17.55, going at 6.15, so his credentials shouldn’t be questioned.
Nevertheless, the 28-year-old has no qualms about his place within the T20 setup, and he reckons he is a ‘valued’ member of the squad.
He said: “Over the last couple of years I’ve played really well, it’s been my best cricket. I know that they are happy with the way I’ve been performing.
“I’m certainly not heaping pressure on myself. I’ve played enough T20s now to know that I’m a valued member of this squad. There’s no real point thinking like ‘I have to do something, if you are doing that you are honestly trying to control the future and that’s just way too hard.
“International cricket is hard enough. It would be a really miserable place if that’s the sort of pressure you heaped on yourself.”
Last year, Australia bludgeoned New Zealand in the T20 World Cup final as they claimed an eight-wicket victory. Mitchell Marsh turned on the style as top-scored with an unbeaten knock of 77, while David Warner, who was named Player of the Tournament, contributed 53 runs from just 38 deliveries.
Inevitably, in the coming months, expectation levels will ramp up in Australia. The Aussies will probably thrive being the reigning champions and seen as the hunted as opposed to the hunter. It’s not just the fans or the media that will try to heap the pressure on them, but there will also be a wide range of leading cricket betting sites that will be stacked with plenty of lines for bettors to wager on. Australia will curry favour in the outright market from the likes of bet365 and Betway and there will also be a wealth of other pre-match lines, such as who Australia’s top run scorer or best bowler will be in any given innings.
With Zampa out of the picture for the meantime at least, Agar will have to go the extra mile to prove he is an indispensable member of the T20 setup and he will be desperate to get the nod when the World Cup rolls around. The Sri Lanka series could be a turning point for Agar, who simply can’t let this opportunity pass him by.
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