Ashton Agar: Who is he?

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The cauldron of an Ashes match can be a fearful proposition for even the most hardened of Test match performers, with the respective hopes of England and Australian pinned on every passing moment.

It would be, then, a fair assumption that a club cricketer thrust into the Ashes spotlight would be quaking in their spikes at the prospect of competing in one of the most fiercely contested series in sport.

This is, of course, unless the player in question is young Ashton Agar who, just weeks after playing for Henley CC, has taken to Test match cricket more quickly than a Shoaib Akhtar bumper.

Catapulted from Australia A to the senior side, Agar did little with the ball as Australia skittled England for only 215 at Trent Bridge, before the teenager entered into the record books with the highest total ever scored by a No.11.

Agar reached a glorious 98, littered with shots of which David Gower of Garfield Sobers would be proud, before he was cruelly dismissed just two runs shy of what would have been a deserved century.

But, just six weeks ago, Agar was on the books at Henley having recently completed his maiden summer as a first class cricketer in Australia, with the 19-year-old taking the decision to further his career with experience in the English club system.

Agar played just one innings for Henley, batting at No.5, and was dismissed for only four runs against High Wycombe, where he was caught by David Cranfield-Thompson off the bowling of Alan Duncan.

Against England, however, it took the hosts 101 deliveries before the Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad - with 417 Test scalps between them - contrived to dismiss the Melbourne native for 98.

Wary of his batting England may now be, but they may have reason to fear his bowling - as the batsmen of North Mymms CC will attest to - with Agar's left-armers snatching him a hat-trick in the Home Counties Premier League prior to his Australia A call-up.

Agar may, of course, find wickets far harder to come by than he did a few weeks ago at the Brakspear Ground, but the teenager has already displayed a temperament and fearlessness that suggests he has a long international future.

His first Test match may only be his 11th first class outing, but Agar is likely to have plenty to say before the destination of the urn is decided by the end of the summer.

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The Ashes

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