Middlesex have signed Australian all-rounder Ashton Agar for this season’s Vitality Blast tournament.
Agar will join Middlesex at the end of June after the completion of Australia’s limited-overs stint in England, a tour that involves five ODIs and one T20I against England.
He will be available to play in all fourteen South Group matches, and will remain with Middlesex until the end of the Vitality Blast, should qualification to the knockout stages be secured.
Agar was in explosive form for the Perth Scorchers in Australia’s Big Bash League earlier this year, averaging 49.66 with the bat with a strike rate of over 128, as well as picking up eight wickets at an average of just 25, with an economy rate of only 5.74.
Agar’s arrival as another left-arm spinner puts some focus on Ravi Patel’s likely involvement at Middlesex. Patel is currently involved in the North v South 50-over series in Barbados after a rare 1st XI opportunity on a controversial turning pitch at Taunton at the end of last season brought him career-best figures of 12 for 173.
A former England Lion, his chances for Middlesex have been rare and he did not figure at all in the Blast last summer, a season under the supervision of T20 coach Dan Vettori, despite a career record in which he has conceded only seven runs an over. It remains to be seen whether he can operate in tandem with Agar.
Angus Fraser, Middlesex’s director of cricket, suggested that it was Agar’s all-round talents that made him an irresistible signing.
“In conversations with Daniel Vettori it became apparent that we required an all-rounder to strengthen our T20 side. Ashton Agar’s name quickly came to the top of our list.
“Ashton is developing into a high-quality cricketer. He has shown that he can bat at the top of the order and continues to be an effective bowler. He is available for the entire tournament and is a cracking young man. I am confident he will fit in to our squad well and produce matchwinning performances.”