Ashton Agar during a nets session at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Ashton Agar during a nets session at the Sydney Cricket Ground. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Agar called in for out-of-favour O'Keefe on Bangladesh tour

SELECTORS have put their faith in Ashton Agar to replace Stephen O'Keefe for the tour of Bangladesh, while a recurrence of a stress fracture has ruled Mitchell Starc out of contention.

Despite being Australia's joint leading wicket-taker during the recent tour of India, O'Keefe's Test career looks all but over after being sensationally dumped from the squad.

National selector Trevor Hohns insists O'Keefe's omission comes down to the spinner not maintaining the same level of performance for the whole series against India.

But the 32-year-old was embroiled in controversy two months ago when he was fined $20,000 and banned from the Matador Cup after a drunken incident at the Cricket NSW awards night. It was his second alcohol-fuelled incident in a matter of months.

O'Keefe also recently missed out on a Cricket Australia contract to the younger Agar.

Agar hasn't played a Test since the 2013 Ashes series, but Hohns says the time is right for the 23-year-old to step up as Nathan Lyon's spin partner.

"Ashton has continued to impress us with his form and we believe his bowling is at a level where he deserves to be playing on the highest stage," Hohns said.

"He will work nicely in tandem with Nathan Lyon and also brings a great all-round package to the team.

"Whilst Steve O'Keefe bowled well in Pune, he did not maintain this level in the remaining matches of the series and we believe the timing is right for Ashton to enter the set-up and test his all-rounder ability."

Meanwhile, Starc underwent scans following the Champions Trophy, which revealed his previous stress fracture hasn't fully healed. The speedster will rest in the lead-up to the Ashes, while a replacement will be named following Australia A's tour of South Africa.

Pat Cummins and Hilton Cartwright have been named in the squad for the two-Test tour of Bangladesh, which takes place in August, though the exact dates have yet to be finalised.