Image Source : GETTY IMAGES Ashton Agar.

Australia’s head coach Andrew McDonald has thrown his weight behind the underfire Ashton Agar after the Super Eight defeat to Afghanistan at the Arnos Vale Ground in Kingstown, St Vincent and Grenadines.

Agar was included in the playing XI at the expense of Mitchell Starc as Australia’s team management thought that the conditions would suit the slow left-arm orthodox bowler.

The spin-bowling allrounder had a decent game with the ball in hand as he conceded just 17 runs in four overs but had a horrible day while fielding.

He conceded a couple of boundaries and also dropped a catch but what hurt Australia the most was him going wicketless. It allowed the two Afghanistan openers, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Ibrahim Zadran to stitch a 118-run stand and take the game away from the Aussies.

McDonald feels that the decision to leave Mitchell Starc was a “tough” one but with the conditions favouring spin, Agar’s selection was justified.

“It’s always a tough decision to leave Mitch Starc out of a team,” McDonald was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “But from the way that the game unfolded, Ashton was suited to these conditions and we needed to make room. We knew we were going to need more than eight overs of spin on that surface and it’s probably something we’ve been planning and preparing for once we knew we were at this venue.

“It’s always a difficult decision. You never know whether you’re right or wrong, but I thought Ashton bowled incredibly well today, used his skill, some good arm-balls, found some purchase early and he made it tricky to navigate through those first few overs. We got two (overs) out (of him) in the powerplay which then set up the bowling for that end with him and Zamps operating. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take those early wickets,” he added.