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Agar turns attention to Warriors
Agar turns attention to Warriors

Ashton Agar's name has been inscribed on a WACA Ground honour board before he has bowled a ball at the ground.

While the initial headlong surge of the young spinner's remarkable rise ended when he returned from India this week after being considered then discounted as a first Test candidate, Agar is still in the eye of a whirlwind month.

The 20-year-old was playing club cricket four weeks ago, but has since done well enough in two Sheffield Shield matches that he was taken to India as a net bowler and impressed so much there that the merits of a Test debut were debated by the national selectors.

"There has been a bit of hype around but I will just try to keep my feet on the ground and strive to do my best for WA," Agar said.

"But I took a lot away from that trip that will hold me in good stead in the future playing against good players.

"The biggest learning experience was that patience is the key to being a really good professional spin bowler."

Promoting on a hunch has rarely been the Australian way so there was little surprise that Agar returned home before the series in India, but he is unlikely to find matters much easier this week against a Tasmanian team bristling with stars.

Even having his name alongside Michael Hogan's as the new owners of the WA 10th-wicket partnership record, after their 94 at the Gabba this month surpassed 91 by Ian Brayshaw and Sam Gannon 43 years ago, simply emphasises the rapidity of his emergence.

Agar has never bowled at the WACA but knows the unforgiving pitch and Tigers like Ricky Ponting and George Bailey will allow him little margin for error.

Even getting Ponting out in the nets before the Perth Test last November simply sounded a warning.

"I was lucky enough to get him out once, but I also learnt that you can't bowl bad balls to him because he will put them away," Agar said.

"I watched Ricky a lot as a kid and I will have to lift to the challenge because he is such a good player of spin bowling."

Pressure within the WA camp is also set to increase, with senior spinner Michael Beer close to returning from a shoulder injury and Agar's under-19 colleague Ashton Turner making an impressive one-day debut for WA on Tuesday.

WA have rewarded Ryan Duffield and Luke Towers' strong work ethic and club form with selection for their first matches in more than two years, while former NSW duo Burt Cockley and Tim Armstrong may make their WA debuts.

·Shaun Marsh expects to be fit in six weeks after surgery in Melbourne on a ruptured hamstring tendon.

  • TEAMS *

  • WA: *Liam Davis, Marcus Harris, Luke Towers, Mike Hussey (capt.), John Rogers, Mitch Marsh, Sam Whiteman, Ashton Agar, Ryan Duffield, Michael Hogan, Burt Cockley, Tim Armstrong (12th to be named).

  • Tasmania *: Jon Wells, Mark Cosgrove, Ricky Ponting, George Bailey (capt.), Jordan Silk, Ben Dunk, James Faulkner, Luke Butterworth, Jason Krejza, Ben Hilfenhaus, Adam Maher, Evan Gulbis (12th to be named).