Ashton Agar looking to transform into Australia’s finisher in T20 cricket
Ashton Agar is keen to improve his batting and become one of Australia’s finishers at the Twenty20 World Cup in India next year.
The all-rounder has caught the eye with both aspects of his game in England so far despite Aaron Finch’s men going two down in the three-game T20 series in Southampton.
Agar has picked up four wickets at an admirable economy rate and chipped in with a 20-ball knock of 23 from number seven in Sunday’s loss.
Since he established himself in the T20 side during the past 12 months, the 26-year-old has excelled with the ball but he would like to win more games for his country with the bat.
“Yes it is definitely a role I have identified that if I can fit into that well, I can really help the team,” said Agar, who struck 98 at number 11 on his Australia Test debut at Trent Bridge in the 2013 Ashes.
“It is a tough role and one I really need to improve on because it is really important at the back end of the innings to get an extra 10 to 15 runs out of that position from a minimal amount of balls.
“That can be the difference in the game for setting a target or chasing and forming a small partnership with whoever is in with you at the back end of an innings is really important.”
Jos Buttler carried his bat to end on 77 not out off 54 balls in the second T20 at the Ageas Bowl.
He concluded proceedings with a huge maximum down the ground and it left Agar envious.
Australia will not face Buttler in the final match of the series, after he requested time off to be with his family following 10 weeks in England’s bio-secure bubble, but he is expected to return on Friday for the first of three one-day internationals at Emirates Old Trafford.
“For whatever reason he’s out of the bubble I hope everything’s OK, but he’s probably their best batter in white-ball cricket at the moment so it’s certainly an advantage for us,” Agar added.
“He can hit all around the ground – spin bowling, he can sweep, reverse sweep, hit over the covers – so he is difficult to bowl to.
“And he moves around the crease a lot and what he does is finish a lot of games, he is often there at the end winning games for England, so hats off to him. He played beautifully.”
If Australia were to lose again on Tuesday, it would see them relinquish the number one spot in the sprint format to England.
Off-spinner Agar admitted the team “take a lot of pride” in topping the rankings, but are keen to win every match they play.
Despite two defeats, confidence is still high in the Australia camp, especially after they were close to victory in the first encounter before they lost four wickets for nine runs from 124 for one while chasing 163 for victory.
Agar added: “There is never leeway in international cricket however there has been a lot more positives that have come out of it than negatives.
“That first game to bowl the way we did on a pretty good pitch and start so well with the bat and get two runs away from winning is a massive positive.
“We had a small collapse and that certainly hurt us but we were so close to winning and even last night we were right in it up until the last couple of overs.
“It is a shame and it really hurts to lose the series but we look around the changing room and know we are a really good team and a good T20 team.
“If we win a couple more of those small moments it shows we are super competitive against the best teams in the world.”