Ashes 2021-22: South Australian Alex Carey could follow Adam Gilchrist path to Test cricket at the Gabba
Alex Carey is set to mirror wicket-keeping great Adam Gilchrist by making a Gabba Test debut after the contentious exit of a veteran predecessor.
Carey, who is 30 and shares a birthday with Australia’s greatest cricketer Don Bradman, is the leading contender to replace Tim Paine in the first Ashes Test next month.
Paine’s Test career appears to be over after he stood down from all cricket only two weeks before the start of the Ashes series.
Endorsed by Gilchrist as the most likely successor to Paine only days before the Tasmanian’s captaincy evaporated amid a texting scandal, Carey could follow his fellow left-hander’s path into the Test team.
Carey has been the Australian one-day keeper for the past three years, claiming 51 catches and six stumpings after taking the gloves in the team’s past 42 appearances, during a successful international apprenticeship in the 50-over format.
Gilchrist had an identical route into Test cricket in the late 1990s before producing one of the greatest careers in cricket’s history.
He kept in Australia’s previous 66 one-dayers before replacing Test gloveman Ian Healy at the start of the 1999-2000 season.
Healy was reluctant to stand down from the Test team, seeking a farewell against Pakistan in front of his home crowd at the Gabba, only to be forced into retirement on the grounds that Australia did not issue testimonial Test matches to departing players.
Carey is ahead of WA’s Josh Inglis, the reserve keeper at the recent T20 World Cup, with Queenslander Jimmy Peirson and former Test gloveman Matthew Wade not considered genuine candidates.
“My assumption is that Alex Carey would be slightly in front of the others to jump into a Test position,” Gilchrist said this month.
“I think that would be a smooth transition given Alex’s experience around the national team and they know him.
“But hot on his heels is Josh Inglis who has just been terrific across all forms of the game in the last couple of years.” Carey, who was a member of GWS’s initial squad before returning to cricket a decade ago, has been South Australia’s regular wicket-keeper for the past seven seasons.
His leadership credentials were underlined in the past two seasons when he captained Australia A against the visiting Pakistan and India.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails