Marsh One-Day Cup 2019
Agar flies home with ankle fracture from UK T20 stint
Western Australian spinner facing race against time to be fit for start of domestic season after an injury while warming up for a T20 match
8 August 2019, 02:38 PM AEST
Ashton Agar is in doubt for the start of the Australian domestic summer after suffering an ankle injury in the UK.
After a successful stint with Australia A's limited-overs squad in the UK this winter, Agar had linked up with the Birmingham Bears for England's domestic T20 competition, where he had been expecting to play all 14 games.
However, a mishap in the warm-ups at Headingley before a match against the Yorkshire Vikings earlier this week saw him pulled out of the match.
The subsequent MRI revealed a "small fracture" and ligament damage that has seen him fly home and he is expected to be sidelined for up to six weeks.
Agar, who played for Middlesex in last year's competition, made four appearances for Birmingham before his injury, taking three wickets and scoring 95 runs.
A full six-week rehabilitation period would see him sidelined until September 20. Western Australia will host the opening match of the newly-renamed Marsh One-Day Cup 50-over competition at the WACA Ground against Victoria on September 21.
The Warriors will also host Tasmania at the WACA on September 25 before heading to Sydney where they will face the NSW Blues at Drummoyne Oval on September 30 and October 2.
The setback will be a blow for Agar who had been intent on rebounding from the disappointment of losing his Cricket Australia contract in April and missing the back half of the Australian summer after he broke his right index finger while training with the Perth Scorchers in January.
That started with a key showing for the Australia A side this winter, where he took six wickets in four list-A matches, as he seeks a route back to the national limited overs side, with next year's T20 World Cup in his sights.
"I'm probably closer (to the national side) in white-ball cricket than I am in Test match cricket," he told cricket.com.au in the UK in June.
"It's a hard one. I recently lost my contract and place in the Australian one-day side so I'm pretty keen to get back in there at some stage.
"How close I am? Well, the best thing to do is not to worry about that.
"Whenever I've done well it's when I've just concentrated on playing and doing the best job I can for the team I'm playing in and right now that's Australia A.
"I've started strongly and I'm going to keep trying to do that."
The yo-yoing in and out of the Australia setup since his famous Test debut in the opening match of the 2013 Ashes series has only steeled Agar, who now backs himself to perform each time he takes the field.
"It's just something I've realised in myself through playing all formats for Australia at a pretty young age and having some success there now," Agar said.
"I've learnt if you don't believe in yourself out there, you've got nothing.
"That's the biggest key. You see every great athlete over time, I think what separates them is they have unwavering self-belief."