Ashton Agar has played four Test matches for Australia since making his debut in 2013.
Australia spinner Steve O’Keefe who made an impression during the team’s four-match Test series to India in 2017 feels the team should play at least three spinners in India and other sub-continent nations. Currently, Australia plays a sole spinner in off-spinner Nathan Lyon and go with four pacers, in the majority of their home and away Test matches.
O’ Keefe who recently retired from first-class cricket for Australia, feels by only playing fast bowlers in the sub-continent conditions may not always be useful and at times can backfire too. The off-spinner has played nine Test matches for Australia and has so far picked 35 wickets.
Apart from Lyon, Ashton Agar was used briefly by Australia in Test matches. “I think we need to start looking at three spinners as well as a quick and a medium pacer. That would be my five bowling options in some of the conditions you encounter over there,” O’Keefe said, according to cricket.com.au.
“In the past, we’ve generally gone, ‘we’ll play what’s best for us, which is three fast bowlers’. But I think it’s so hard in that heat and those conditions for those guys to have success,” he further said.
Mitchell Swepson and Ashton Agar ready to support Lyon: Steve O’Keefe
O’Keefe further opined that Agar and Mitchell Swepson can be included along with Lyon, in sub-continent pitches. While Agar has featured in four Test matches, Swepson is yet to don the white jersey for Australia. “But the beauty of playing Nathan Lyon with Ashton Agar or if you went with all three, Nathan is an attacking, over-the-top spin bowler who can be aggressive, then someone like Ashton could really control (the game) and bring the run rate down to two or three an over.”
O’ Keefe concluded by saying that Australia can take a leaf out of India’s book and decide to bowl two spinners in tandem, rather than just Lyon operating from one end.
“When you look at the Indian spinners (Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja) bowling well, that’s genuinely how they work one will contain and one will be the wicket-taker. So I think it’s important for those guys to get some opportunities to bowl together, whether that’s in some lead-up games for Aussie A or tour games over there, to get the synergy right of bowling together. I think they’ll have success,” he said.