Australia have handed a shock debut to 19-year-old spin bowler Ashton Agar in their side to face England in the first Ashes Test.
Agar, of Sri Lankan descent, comes in for Nathan Lyon and becomes the 434th player to feature in the Australian Test side, having been handed his baggy green cap this morning by Glenn McGrath,
He featured in the warm-up match against Worcestershire last week but his figures did not suggest he would be named for the opening Test, having claimed two wickets for 79 runs in the first innings and just one for 86 in the second.
Having not been named in the original squad, Agar’s selection is believed to be in response to Kevin Pietersen’s apparent difficulty at playing left-arm spin. Pietersen himself is only making his England return today having spent three months on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Standing at 6ft 1in, Agar was born in Melbourne but plies his trade for Western Australia. He has played just 10 first-class games taking 31 wickets, and his career best figures are five wickets for 65 runs – not really stats that will have the England batting line-up quivering in their spikes.
Agar is the 13th spinner to play for the Kangaroos since Shane Warne’s retirement, and he will hope for much more success than his predecessors against England Xavier Doherty and Michael Beer.
Agar did feature for Henley competing in the Home Counties Premier League in May, playing the likes of High Wycombe and Welwyn Garden City, and he went on to claim a hat-trick against North Mymms.