The pace bowler admits he was “a bit young” the first time he moved to Adelaide four years ago but now – after two years based in his home state Victoria alongside representing the Adelaide Strikers in the BBL – Agar is keen to make the most of his second Redbacks opportunity.
“I originally moved to Adelaide when I was 17, and leaving (home) straight after school finished, I didn’t really hold on to many friendships from that time,” said Agar, who was on South Australia’s rookie list in 2016-17 and made his List A debut in 2016-17 and also had a contract with the Strikers.
“Everything fell into place when I got my contract (with the Redbacks) the following year after my move. I almost felt it was a chance to authentically be myself and have a fresh start.
“I found everyone here really nice and kind (but) I went back home for personal reasons. I think I was a bit young to be away from home so early.”
Agar’s stint in his state of origin confirmed for him that his heart remained in South Australia.
“It didn’t have that same feel. I think I have a really good connection with the players at SACA. I say it to the boys all the time – I look at the teams and the players as family and so being away from them and playing against them didn’t feel right.
“That flows into development as a player, aspirations and goals – being in a place you want to be. Obviously you want to do better and train better and play better. I factored all of that in when I was in Victoria and then realised Adelaide was the place I wanted to be. Hence my move back this year.”
Now aged 22, Agar’s fit within the Redbacks squad is strategic as much as familial. His speed and youthful, raw talent are qualities that fill a need.
“We had meetings at the start of this year to determine what we can bring individually to this team,” he said. “For me as a fast bowler I bring the ball speed in the air. We have a lot of great, skillful bowlers but I think at SACA what they really want is someone who can bowl fast, short and fiery spells, and I think I can bring that to our team.”
Agar’s wide-eyed inexperience may prove to be an advantage in itself.
“I have the ability not to overthink it too much and I just want to go out and do well – I think that’s an advantage,” he said. “I was speaking to Tim Oakley who’s another rookie this year and we were just talking about how much we just love playing.
“Playing cricket is like something that can get lost in the job of it and seeing it as a job. For me, I’m still that kid in under-12s on Saturday mornings who just wants to go out and play cricket.
“Saying that, I have been in the system for four years now so it doesn’t feel that raw, but I feel like I’m still inexperienced in game situations so when that happens I think that young kid in me will come out again.”
With a number of Redback pace bowlers suffering injuries last season and others including Kane Richardson selected for international duties, Agar may find his moment to shine on-field this coming season.
“I’m hoping for a breakout season this year, hopefully there’s the opportunity,” he said.
“I know I’m not going to be the first picked if all our bowlers are fit but if not, hopefully I can fill a role and be someone they rely on. I’m a consistent performer – I can play all formats of the game, and I’m working hard this pre-season. To perform - that’s my goal.”
Getting to know Wes Agar…
Describe your family and your upbringing.
Family is massive to me and my brothers. We were all born within a close age, we were three under three. I have two brothers, Ashton being the obvious one and Will is one year older than me. We are very close, we are almost best friends. So poor mum having four boys in the house. We just grew up loving sport - any sport. We’d kick footballs, kick soccer balls, hit cricket balls but obviously cricket was the main one and having three boys its easy cause you’ve got a batter a bowler and a fielder but we’d literally play – no exaggeration - from the moment we got home to dark. It probably didn’t help our schooling but it was really important for us to just go out and play without any pressures, not even aspirations for us, it was just loving the game. I think a lot of that contributes to the skill we have today. Dad always said it’s the best practice we ever got. So it was a really good upbringing for us.
Your poor middle brother though!
No, he’s ok! Ash and I always say he was the best of us both but unfortunately he probably got dealt a hard hand by a few coaches that didn’t help his too much along the way, but he still plays A grade in Melbourne and he’s a very clever cookie, He’s also artistic so he does massive portraits and paintings and clothes which I’m wearing under here – Wilbur clothes – he designs clothes as well so he’s got his own thing going on.
How would you describe your relationship with your big brother (cricketer Ashton)? What are your similarities/differences?
Ash moved out at 18 – very young – but being the youngest and him being the oldest I look to him as a role model, so it’s a good relationship but also one of a lot of respect. A great amount of respect. And I say it a lot but he’s like a father figure. He comes down hard on me when I play up or do something silly but also he’s very caring and protective. Being through what he’s gone through before I got into the system helped me a lot to learn before I actually learnt it myself. He gave me the heads up of what life’s like in a professional environment, cricket in general and just playing different games, it’s just really good to have the experience on hand.
I am superstitious but probably out of cricket circles if anything. In cricket? I think the only pre-game thing that I do, that I did during Big Bash here … I love the hills and the country and and obviously being a country music fan so what I love to do the morning before the game is to drive up to Stirling and there’s a café up there that I love to go to and have my coffee and breakfast. And I end up driving around in the hills for like an hour and a bit, playing country music and clearing my head. Organic Market café. It’s so nice. So that’s a big ritual for me.
The Strikers boys this year, through Dizzy (coach Jason Gillespie), we’ve started “earthing ourselves” before games. So we’d go out on the ground with our shoes off and do warm-up and pre-game meetings all with our shoes off so we can connect through the ground and become one. I took it on and I don’t know if it helps or anything but it’s supposed to get you more in touch with the surroundings before the game. But I’ve started doing that and a lot of the boys do it but its more because the grass feels nice under your feet! Dizzy has a few books about it.
Are you artistic like your brother?
No, music’s my thing, love music. Music is me. I love my vinyl collection and I love my guitar. I play a little bit. My favourite song is probably Mr Tamborine Man by Bob Dylan … I love old-school like Bruce Spingsteen, John Meyer, and a lot of real, real oldies like Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin and those types.
I understand you’re pretty good on the mic and in front of the camera. If (heaven forbid) you find yourself unable to play cricket, could media be a fallback option for you?
I think definitely! I’m addicted to my phone so I know my social media realms pretty well. I think it’s something for me. I like talking and I like getting out there I like meeting people and networking so definitely. Hopefully that’s a long way in the future so it’s something I’m really interested in. I was considering studying something to do with radio or media but yeah I was literally considering doing it just because I’m interested in it’s a path I’ll definitely go down one year.
What’s something you say all the time?
I think I refer to myself in the third person a lot, if anything. I have a nickname called the Weasel and I think it can get a bit annoying when I call myself the Weasel all the time. Yeah, I think I refer to myself in third person too much!