BRISBANE: Alex Carey looks poised to replace Tim Paine as Australia’s wicket-keeper for the Ashes against England and make his Test debut, as more bad weather Wednesday wrecked preparations for both teams.
Paine quit as Test captain and then last week stepped away from cricket over a text-message scandal, leaving selectors seeking an alternative ahead of the December 8 first Test.
Carey and fellow gloveman Josh Inglis were widely seen as in a showdown for the role and a decision was expected after a scheduled three-day intra-squad match featuring both of them in Brisbane.
But day one was washed out on Wednesday and reports said Inglis had returned home to Perth.
The Sydney Morning Herald said the 30-year-old Carey had been “given the nod”, sentiments echoed by broadcaster ABC, which said he was “expected to be named Australian wicketkeeper”.Carey has featured in limited-overs cricket for Australia and stood in as ODI skipper in the West Indies this year, but he has never played a Test match.
He insisted on Wednesday he had not spoken with selectors.
“Selection is totally out of my control now. It’s something that I shouldn’t waste time worrying about,” Carey told RSN radio. “If I am lucky enough to get the opportunity, I’d feel really proud and grateful... a young kid’s dream come true.”
Cricket Australia confirmed on Wednesday that Inglis had returned to Western Australia. Inglis is set to return to Brisbane after his trip to see family — but for an Australia ‘A’ tour match rather than the first Test at the Gabba ground.
All-rounder Cameron Green, who is set to start for Australia in the Ashes at number six, said Carey’s experience in one-day cricket will help him make the adjustment to Test cricket.
“Alex has been around for quite a while now in that international set-up and I’m sure all the confidence he’s gained from playing all the one-dayers will hold him in good stead,” Green told reporters in Queensland on Wednesday.
“The experience that he brings, he’s got a really good record in one-day cricket, he’s really held that position down really well.”
Green made his own test debut in Adelaide during the India series last December, going on to average 33.71 over four Tests with a high score of 84.
While he has confirmed his talent with the bat for Western Australia this season, the 22-year-old seamer will go into his fifth Test next week still seeking his first wicket.
Persistent rain has badly hampered both teams’ preparations for the five-Test series, with Australia also needing to decide between Usman Khawaja and Travis Head after incumbent number five Matthew Wade was axed from the squad.
The rain-hit warm-up match had been billed as a chance for them to impress selectors.
England have also suffered from the weather with a three-day practice match washed out last week, bar 29 overs.
No play was possible on the opening day of their final four-day clash on Tuesday, and the rain again meant only an optional indoor session was possible on Wednesday.
Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed, along with spinner Dom Bess, are the only members of their Ashes party to have any match practice since the tour started.
Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2021