Melbourne [Australia], June 3 (ANI): Australian spinner Ashton Agar will lead the spin attack of his side in the absence of Adam Zampa during the away series against Sri Lanka, which starts from June 7 onwards.
The white-ball captain Aaron Finch has said that Agar will be the lead spinner for the side during the three-T20I and five-ODIs assignment against the Lankan Lions.
“He has proved over the last couple of years that he is one of the best in the world in the T20 format for Australia. The fact we have been able to win a World Cup having the strength of Ash not in the XI is super for the group,” cricket.com.au quoted Finch as saying.
“And what he has shown with his disappointment of missing out during that World Cup – his ability to bounce back and take his opportunities every time he has had them – shows the character of the person and shows what kind of a team man he is. He will certainly get a lot of opportunities on this tour to play that frontline spinner role in both white-ball formats of the game,” he added.
The left-arm spinner trained for the first time on tour on Friday at the R Premadasa Stadium. The majority of the T20I squad has now arrived at the Lankan capital of Colombo.
Zampa is all set to miss the tour due to the impending birth of his first child. With this, the left-arm spinner has an opportunity to present his case for a spot in the 2022 T20 World Cup squad.
With Aussies open to playing three spinners at a spin-friendly Galle, Agar could also get his chance to wear the Baggy Green for the first time in five years. The venue is set to host both the test matches.
Mitchell Swepson and Nathan Lyon are the incumbent spinners in the Test squad.
But Agar’s chances of displacing Zampa in white-ball format appear slim in the immediate term.
Zampa has missed only three of Australia’s 45 T20Is since the start of 2019, during which time he has played even more games than his skipper, Finch.
The fact only Zampa, Finch (39 T20Is over that period) and Matthew Wade (34) have played more T20Is than Agar (28) among Australians during this aforementioned time frame highlights the boldness of the move to drop the spinner at the World Cup last year.
Captain Finch has said that fielding four specialist bowlers along with all-rounders like Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis provides sufficient options to his side.
“We played a lot over the last three years (before last year’s World Cup) with two frontline spinners and we changed that pretty late to go with the three quicks the one spinner and then use our all-rounders. We feel as though that is a really balanced side for T20 cricket because we have still got seven genuine betters with (wicketkeeper) Matty Wade (Matthew Wade) at seven,” said Finch.
“We saw the importance of that (allrounder) role throughout the World Cup … when the conditions suit, Maxwell is as good as a frontline spinner (and) Mitch Marsh and Marcus Stoinis’s bowling is very underrated in T20 cricket as well,” he added.
Apart from Zampa, Test captain Pat Cummins will also miss the T20 series against Sri Lanka as he is being rested.
Stoinis, Maxwell, Wade, David Warner and Josh Hazlewood, whose Indian Premier League teams made it to the final four and were subsequently given extra time at home, are the last remaining members of the team set to arrive on Friday evening. (ANI)