IND v AUS 2023: Darren Lehmann backs Ashton Agar to be Australia's X-factor in Test series in India

Darren Lehmann explained how Australia can beat India in India in the upcoming Test series.

Ashton Agar, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Swepson | Getty Images

Former Australia head coach Darren Lehmann believes that left-arm spinner Ashton Agar can prove Australia's X-factor in the upcoming four-match Test series in Australia, starting on February 9 in Nagpur.

Lehmann stressed that the Indian pitches really help finger spinners, and that’s why he feels Agar should play as the second spinner alongside Nathan Lyon in the upcoming Test series against India, as Australia is aiming for their first Test win since 2017 on Indian soil.

Speaking on Australian radio station SENQ, Darren Lehmann said: “Having been there, I'm probably more inclined to play finger spinners. It just gets through the air quicker and some spin and some don't. The leg-spinners sometimes spin it too much, if that makes sense... (for finger spinners) some skid on and you get beaten on the inside and you get an LBW.”

He added, “That's probably why they're looking at a finger spinner. We certainly did that four years ago (2017) and Steve O'Keefe bowled India out basically on his own in one of the last Test matches to win there. That's why I'd be looking at someone like an Agar, bat a little bit, bowl as that second spinner.”

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Meanwhile, Agar is the only left-arm spin option in Australia's Test squad, while the tourists also have leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson and uncapped off-spinner Todd Murphy in their ranks for the India tour.

Reacting to the spin options picked for the much-awaited Test series against India, the 52-year-old said that Australia has a pretty balanced squad and playing Swepson would not be a bad choice.

Lehmann further said, “I can't believe there was talk of him (Swepson) not going, talk about balance of the side, if you get to pick 18 players, you want a pretty balanced squad. Most of the time we only take 15 (players) over there.”

He signed off by saying, “They've got the extra spinners, there's plenty of options, there's no tour game, so they'll work out the best option to win over there I'm sure. It does look like a pretty good squad. If it suits to play the leg-spinner as the second spinner, then good on him.”

The first Test will be played in Nagpur from February 9 onwards.

Australia squad:

Pat Cummins (captain), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Peter Handscomb, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Lance Morris, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

(With PTI Inputs)


By Rashmi Nanda - 23 Jan, 2023

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