WA rookie Agar in frame for Test shock
Ashton Agar. Pic: Getty Images

Ashton Agar will remain in India for several more days as Australia contemplate one of the most remarkable Test debuts in cricket history.

The 19-year-old has played just two Sheffield Shield matches for WA but has impressed with the quality of his spin bowling and his combative batting and fielding.

Although experienced left-armer Xavier Doherty or uncapped all-rounder Glenn Maxwell appear to have the front running for the second spinner's spot, Agar's retention in Chennai signals that Australia are considering a shock call-up for the first Test, starting next Friday. He was due to return to Perth today but will now stay until chairman of selectors John Inverarity arrives tonight.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon is sure to play in the first Test while occasional leg-spinner Steve Smith was included in a 17-man touring squad but is not likely to force his way ahead of Doherty or Maxwell.

Considerable doubts still surround Doherty, who has taken just two first-class wickets this season and has three Test scalps at 102.

Maxwell has taken nine wickets at 27.56 this summer, but the selectors have concerns about technical flaws in his action that could make him vulnerable to Indian batsmen keen to attack Australia's inexperienced spinners.

Australia are also eager to include at least one spinner who can move the ball away from the predominantly right-handed top order, meaning the final choice could come down to Doherty or Agar.

Inverarity and his fellow selectors, coach Mickey Arthur and captain Michael Clarke, are expected to use the three-day warm-up match against India A starting tomorrow to shape the Test team.

Inverarity said Agar may still be released to play for WA in the double-header against Tasmania at the WACA Ground next week.

"The plan at the moment is that he returns in time to play for Western Australia but there is a possibility that he could stay a bit longer," Inverarity said.

Agar's rise to the verge of Test selection is one of the most rapid in Australian history.

The tall left-armer was not in the WA team a month ago, but was included for the game against NSW in Blacktown when senior spinner Michael Beer hurt his left shoulder.

Beer was virtually guaranteed a Test place against India after being a member of Australia's previous three tours to Sri Lanka, South Africa and the West Indies.

Young Warrior Agar took 3-103 against the Blues and made 10 and 34 not out.

In the win over Queensland at the Gabba last week, he took 2-47 and 3-91 and scored 53 in a State record 10th-wicket stand of 94 with Michael Hogan.

No other West Australian has started his shield career with as many runs (98) and wickets (eight) after two matches.

Agar also bowled well in Australia's two-day match in Chennai this week, claiming 1-27 from eight overs to vindicate the selection panel's decision to send him to India.

"We needed someone to make up the XI and it was a very good opportunity to invest an opportunity in a promising young player," Inverarity said.

Meanwhile, Clarke tested his sore hamstring in the nets yesterday in a bid to be ready for the three-day game. Opener David Warner (broken thumb) is still in doubt.

"The plan at the moment is that he returns … but there is a possibility that he could stay.""Chairman of selectors *John Inverarity *


The West Australian

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