‘Really confident’: Carey, Inglis in Ashes frame as Paine replacement
Cricket Australia hopes Tim Paine returns “as soon as possible” but the national selectors may opt to not look back once they settle on a new wicketkeeper for next month’s Ashes series.
Paine’s decision to take time out from the sport on Friday means the uncapped Alex Carey, Josh Inglis and Jimmy Peirson are fighting for the key role behind the stumps.
Trevor Hohns, the selection chairman until the start of this summer, had the experienced Carey, 30, as the next best after Paine and cricket insiders say he deserves first shot come the series opener at the Gabba. But Inglis, 26, has impressed with his glove work and, like Carey, can turn a match with the bat.
Alex Carey in 2019.Credit:Getty Images
New Test skipper Pat Cummins said he and vice-captain Steve Smith were likely to be canvassed on who they thought should win the role.
“You have probably got three or four guys who could walk into the team and you know what you are going to get,” he said.
“They are never going to let you down. It’s too early to say. Obviously, it’s a selectors’ decision but (I am) absolutely really comfortable and confident in the options we have ahead of us.”
Wicketkeeping great Ian Healy, who was plucked from relative obscurity in 1988 to make his Test debut, said this week that the selectors had a tough call to make.
“Carey certainly deserves to have a go but, if George Bailey and his selectors say we will go young and for the future, then it is Josh Inglis or Jimmy Pearson,” Healy told SEN.
“But I would say it is Josh Inglis that has absolutely jammed the door open with his foot.”
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting said this week: “If Paine doesn’t play in Brisbane, the obvious one is Alex Carey.” That view was endorsed by Mark Taylor, the former Australian skipper saying Carey was Paine’s “logical” successor.
South Australian Carey averages 34.73 in 45 first class matches with five tons – he averaged 59.8 last summer in the Sheffield Shield – and was arguably Australia’s best player at the 2019 World Cup. He is also a former joint vice-captain of the one-day international side.
West Australian Inglis averages 34.03 in 45 first class matches with three centuries but last summer averaged 73.12 in the Shield.
The two men are in the Australia A squad and are slated to take part in an intra-squad match in Brisbane next week.
Queensland’s Peirson, 29, averages 32.87 in 48 first-class matches with three centuries.
Shane Warne has already had his say, using his newspaper column to declare that Inglis should win the nod, pointing to his soft hands behind the stumps and 360-degree range in his strokeplay.
Selectors, traditionally, have never been afraid to make a bold call when it comes to glovemen, including when Adam Gilchrist usurped Healy in 1999 and when Paine returned after a seven-year absence in 2017.
CA chief executive Nick Hockley said it was hoped Paine was back in selection calculations soon but Cummins said it was too early to speculate if the former gloveman would return, with Paine focusing on his personal life right now.
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