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Enjoy the freedom Twenty20 affords: Agar

Perth Scorchers’ young spinner talks about adapting to cricket’s shortest format

19-year-old Ashton Agar is part of the Perth Scorchers squad that is fielding a fairly young team in the Champions League Twenty20 this season. The youngster made waves by registering the highest score by a No.11 batsman in Tests with a determined 98 against England. While he has made his presence felt in the longest format of the game, he loves to play with the freedom that T20 offers.

The talented left-arm spinner is keen to make the most of his time in India where he would encounter some of the best players of spin and conditions that are likely to aid spin. While speaking to clt20.com, Agar mentioned that he is looking forward to playing against the likes Sachin Tendulkar. He also talked about batting and bowling in the shortest format of the game.

Excerpts from his interview:

As a spinner would you relish playing in India?

It is obviously good playing here as a spin bowler. So as a left-arm orthodox bowler I am happy to play on Indian wickets. When I was in Chennai the wicket was turning quite a lot, so I am not exactly sure how it is going to play at the other venues. But if it is like that it should be good for the spinners.

How difficult is it to switch and adapt to different formats?

It is not too difficult. I like to play with freedom so that sort of translates to Twenty20 reasonably well. It is really fun. I enjoy playing in all forms of the game. So yes, the more cricket I play, the better time I have.

Bowlers are at often the receiving end in Twenty20. How do you prepare for that?

You have to accept that you might get hit for a six. You can’t let that scare you from your plans. The fact that you might get hit for a six, should not make you bowl any differently. So you have to go in with full confidence and just do the best that you can.

Have you been discussing bowling with Brad Hogg?

Yes we have been discussing. He has given me a few tips and he has spoken to me about a few specific batsmen and how to bowl to them in planning meetings. Both Brad Hogg and Michael Beer as well have been especially good in that sense.

What are inputs from Hogg?

Hoggy, he is a great thinker, so he always knows at the top of his mark, what ball he is going to bowl. He thinks ahead, he thinks what the batsman might be thinking and how they will play and he sets his fields and bowls accordingly. He is very good in that sense.

What are you looking forward from your first time in the CLT20?

I just look forward to playing. I think it is going to be a great experience. There should be a good crowd especially while playing against the Indian sides (IPL teams). Playing against some of the best players in the world like Sachin Tendulkar would be a great experience and to play with a great bunch of players is going to be fantastic as well.

What are you working on and how are you preparing for T20 as a spinner?

Obviously preparing to be hit, so for a batsman coming at you, you also work on how to tie batsmen down and also to get batsman out when they try to hit you around. I think that is the biggest thing.

So what would you be focusing on – restricting or taking wickets?

You have to try and find the right balance for both. So obviously there is a lot of restricting, but by tying a batsman down in Twenty20, you are basically setting up for a wicket because you know that they are going to have to play big shots to keep a steady run-rate going. I think that is the trick.

You also enjoy batting?

Yes, I do enjoy my batting and I have been working quite hard on it.

While batting in T20 do you like playing the big shots?

You have to hit hard. You have to play your shots and that’s how I like batting and so it should be good fun.

Tell us about the Perth scorchers campaign

We have done all the right preparations and we have trained really hard. We are extremely fit and we have got a great mix of youth and experience in the side.

What has been the advice from the experienced campaigners – coach Justin langer and captain Simon Katich?

They are both excellent leaders and everyone in this side would run through a big wall for them. So we really want to play for them.

What tips have you received from Langer?

One tip from him is that India is very different to Australia so we just have to focus on our cricket. We must stick to our plans and adapt and we will be fine.

What would you consider to be your strength – your stock ball?

My stock ball is my off-spinner. When I get it right, it is hard spun and it dips and drops. So that’s what I am working at and that’s what I am trying to perfect.

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