West Indies v Australia ODIs - Men's
Youngest Agar walks tall beside beloved brother Ash
There were emotional scenes pre-match at Kensington Oval as the two close siblings embraced before Wes's debut for Australia
Louis Cameron at Kensington Oval, Barbados
21 July 2021, 06:04 AM AEST
Wes Agar once happily embraced the title, bestowed upon him by his aunties, as the Pippa Middleton of Australian cricket.
The larrikin nature of the youngest Agar sibling, which had once manifested itself in him winning a swimming race at a school carnival while wearing a cartoon mask that covered his entire head, had prompted a desire to wear a dinner suit to Ashton's out-of-the-blue Test debut for Australia during the 2013 Ashes.
The tight turnaround between the arrival of the Agar family, including dad John, mum Sonia and middle brother Will, into Heathrow Airport only hours before the first Test was to begin at Trent Bridge put paid to Wes's plan.
And left John wearing runners that clashed with his more formal attire after he was unable to unlock his suitcase to find his dress shoes in the mad scramble to make it out onto the ground to see Glenn McGrath hand over Baggy Green No.434 to Ashton, a memory the Agar boys still laugh about eight years on.
Wes instead settled for a paisley button-up on day two, which got increasing amounts of air-time all over the world as Ashton closed in on an incredible century from No.11.
"I thought if Ash would be on TV, maybe I might (too) and if I dress up really nice, I could be like Pippa Middleton," Wes told cricket.com.au recently, in reference to the sister of Kate Middleton who gained considerable attention during Prince William's royal wedding in 2011.
Now an accomplished fast bowler, Wes had long been out of Ashton's shadow by the time his own international debut was confirmed under the scorching afternoon sun in Barbados ahead of the first ODI against West Indies on Tuesday.
He had done his chances of winning a spot in the team no harm two days earlier when, during a fiery centre-wicket spell from Kensington Oval's Malcolm Marshall End, he had bowled with considerable pace and bounce to Australia's batters.
The Agars join illustrious company – the Chappells (Ian, Greg and Trevor), the Waughs (Steve and Mark), the Lees (Shane and Brett), the Husseys (Mike and David) and the Marshs (Mitch and Shaun) – as brothers to represent Australia in ODI cricket.
While the extended Agar clan could not travel to the Caribbean for another milestone family moment, Ashton was able to not only represent them but present Wes with his cap.
As had been the wish of proud mum Sonia, who had gotten up early to watch on Wednesday morning (AEST) in the dead of winter back at the family home in Bentleigh in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs.
In an emotional address, the elder Agar had to compose himself on multiple occasions as he reflected on how far Wes had come from imitating Brett Lee (and Shoaib Akhtar) while donning replica Australian shirts and hats in the backyard, to now wearing the real thing.
He also recalled the resilience Wes had shown when he, like Ashton had done a few years before him, moved interstate to pursue his cricket dream as a teenager.
"You have certainly faced your fair share of challenges, life has thrown a bit of stuff your way and you've handled it incredibly well," Ashton said in presenting Wes ODI cap No.231.
"(Those) challenges that are going to be far more difficult than what you face out here today, I can promise you that.
"What these challenges have given you is a beautiful sense of self-awareness and a resilience that I think is unparalleled."
Wes Agar's route to international cricket has been bumpier than Ashton's.
It is also not dissimilar to the paths trodden by his fellow Australia debutants for the opening ODI against West Indies, Josh Philippe (who made his major breakthrough when he left the Perth Scorchers for the Sydney Sixers) and Ben McDermott (a Queenslander whose cricket dream has been realised in Tasmania).
The youngest Agar brother first left home as a 17-year-old for a chance to play in South Australia, where he earnt a rookie deal and a domestic debut with the Redbacks.
When he moved back to Melbourne in 2016 he had done enough to impress selectors in Victoria, who handed the right-armer a contract, but it took playing against his former teammates at SA for him to realise where his heart lay.
"It hit me hard when we played a one-dayer against South Australia, that they actually beat us in, I was sitting there watching and it felt like watching my brothers play against me," Wes told cricket.com.au last year.
He moved back to Adelaide, where he had remained with the city's BBL team, the Strikers, during that period, and went on to win the prestigious Bradman Young Cricketer of the Year award following a breakout Sheffield Shield campaign.
That had come on the back of an increased focus on fitness that saw him lose nearly seven kilograms during the 2019 pre-season.
"He wanted to better himself and give him every opportunity of playing at this level, which he gets to do today," Ashton told cricket.com.au on Tuesday.
"That can be really tough for a young boy, going away, fending for yourself without the support of your family in that city. He came back for a period but he realised he had to go (back) and it worked out beautifully for him.
"All the emotion certainly came flooding out when I gave him his cap.
"It's just pride – it's no secret I love him a lot, we're a very close family and you just want to see your people doing well.
"It was a beautiful moment and I'll cherish that forever."
Qantas Tour of the West Indies 2021
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Wes Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (vc for ODIs), Dan Christian, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Ashton Turner, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade (vc for T20Is), Adam Zampa. Travelling reserves: Nathan Ellils, Tanveer Sangha.
West Indies ODI squad: Kieron Pollard (c), Shai Hope (vc), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Anderson Phillip, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd
T20 series: West Indies won 4-1
(all matches at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, St Lucia)
First T20: West Indies won by 18 runs
Second T20: West Indies won by 56 runs
Third T20: West Indies won by six wickets
Fourth T20: Australia won by four runs
Fifth T20: West Indies won by 16 runs
ODI series (all matches at Kensington Oval, Barbados)
First ODI (D/N): July 21, 4.30am AEST (July 20, 2.30pm local)
Second ODI (D/N): July 23, 4.30am AEST (July 22, 2.30pm local)
Third ODI (D/N): July 25, 4.30am AEST (July 24, 2.30pm local)
* Details of five-match T20 tour of Bangladesh are yet to be announced by the Bangladesh Cricket Board. Tours are subject to agreement on bio-security arrangements and relevant government approvals.