Perth Scorchers star Ashton Agar says the ladder-leaders are embracing the tough task of summer on the road, saying the team is “far more of a family than a cricket team”.
The Scorchers, who currently sit atop the Big Bash League as the only unbeaten side, will spend the entire holiday season – including Christmas – away from loved ones in Perth, in what Agar labelled their “hardest” campaign to date.
The three-time champions played just one match at home before WA borders retrictions forced them to pack their bags for an indefinite road trip.
“The guys are coping so well,” Agar told SportFM. “If you look over the history of the Big Bash, this is the hardest thing the team has had to do, no doubt about it.
“On the road the whole time, away from family, not really knowing what’s happening with the borders, Christmas away; all of these things are stacked against us.
“And I think we’ve used that to really bring the group together and just look after one-another and that’s what we’re doing.”
Agar said the boys in the squad love spending time together, going out to get coffee or playing golf in their down time.
“We enjoy each other’s company, we care about each other, we look after each other and I think that’s what it is,” he said.
We’re far more of a family than a cricket team.
“We’re far more of a family than a cricket team.”
The Scorchers appear to be galvanished by their misfortune, rather than be hindered by it, which culminated in a fourth-straight win over the Hobart Hurricanes on Monday night as Perth remained the only undefeated team in BBL11.
Kurtis Patterson was named Player of the Match, while Andrew Tye recorded his 100th wicket for the men in orange – the first bowler to reach the milestone for one club.
Agar himself was another standout performer, hitting an unbeated 30 off 11 balls at the death to lift Perth to 167 runs.
The allrounder said it was a “sign of a good team” that the Scorchers had been able to chop and change their XI without dropping a game, particularly in the absense of Australia A representatives Mitch Marsh and Josh Inglis for their first two matches.
“I think each game what’s been really pleasing is that you’ve got multiple people contributing and I think that’s what any good team has, especially in T20 cricket” he said.
“Obivously we had a different looking side game one and two, and then Mitch and Ingo come back in… and people have to shift around, it’s a sign of a good team.
“People who are able to adapt really quickly, understand their role and ultimately play that role effectively.
“(I’ve been) super proud of how the boys have been able to do also whilst knowing that we’re on the road for a long time.”
The Scorchers look set to be without last tournament’s top wicket-taker Jhye Richardson, who claimed five wickets in his return to international duties in the second Ashes Test victory at Adelaide Oval.
While Richardson may be – albeit unluckily – pushed aside to make way for returning skipper Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood for the Boxing Day Test, Agar said his Big Bash teammates were “stoked” with his fruitful performance.
“When we got off the ground (against Hobart) the scorecard was up in the room and to see Jhye 5 for 40-odd off (19.1 overs) we’re pretty used to seeing that now,” Agar said.
“No one was suprised if we’re being honest, he’s been in such good form. He keeps taking wickets, going for no runs – he’s a special bowler so hopefully he plays the next Test.”