Pakistan's Tour of Australia - Men's
Spotlight won't faze Aus A captain Carey
South Australian says he prides himself on his natural leadership traits as he prepares to lead a strong side against Pakistan in Perth
Martin Smith in Perth
9 November 2019, 11:53 AM AEST
Alex Carey is undaunted by the prospect of his first major captaincy test next week, adding he's satisfied to be without an official leadership position at state level despite a push for him to be given greater exposure as skipper.
Carey has long been considered a future leader in Australian cricket, illustrated by his rapid elevation to the role of Aaron Finch's deputy in Australia's limited-overs teams last year.
And his selection as captain of a strong Australia A side to play Pakistan in Perth next week – a match that will be live streamed on cricket.com.au and the CA Live app – instead of his own state skipper Travis Head and Queensland's Usman Khawaja, underlines the esteem with which he's held.
The inaugural skipper at AFL club Greater Western Sydney before turning his attention to cricket, Carey has captained before at club and Second XI level, but not yet for the senior South Australian side.
While acknowledging the three-day match at Perth Stadium next week will be a step up in class, the uncapped wicketkeeper-batsman is unfazed by leading a strong side boasting a combined 93 Test caps.
"(Leadership) is one thing that comes quite naturally to me," the 28-year-old said in Perth Friday ahead of Australia's third Gillette T20 INTL against Pakistan tonight.
"I'm not going to look to change anything this week. I'm the Australian vice-captain for a reason and I like to pride myself on the qualities on and off the field. And the tactical side of things will keep developing the more games I play.
"At the moment, I'm learning pretty quickly under 'Finchy', which is fantastic.
"I think this (Australia A) group can handle themselves pretty well. We've got a nice bowling attack – I could throw the ball to any of the four quicks and trust they're going to do the job."
Chief selector Trevor Hohns said recently he would like to see Carey develop his leadership by being given an opportunity to captain South Australia, where one of Head or Jake Lehmann normally lead in first-class and one-day cricket.
Carey told cricket.com.au last month that his absence from some state cricket over the summer due to international duties, and the fact he missed the entire pre-season in England, makes Lehmann the less-disruptive choice as fill-in skipper of the Redbacks whenever Head is unavailable.
Lehmann, however, has not been a guaranteed selection in SA's XI so far this summer; dropped for last week's match against NSW, the left-hander was made captain for next week's game against Tasmania while Head and Carey are on A duty.
Last week, SA Cricket boss Tim Nielsen said Head would captain the Redbacks whenever he is available.
"We can't have three people doing the state captaincy," the former Australia coach told News Corp.
"Travis is our captain, we think he has done an excellent job, learning a lot about the tactical side of the game and we only see an upside in him. We 100 per cent support Travis.
"We are not jumping around changing captains in any shape or form. Alex understands that and the rest of the team understands that.
"We think it is a good decision to expose Alex to the captaincy in this Australia A game."
Carey added that he's comfortable with the status quo at state level and is content with the captaincy exposure he's getting as Finch's deputy.
"When Travis is playing for Australia, there's an opportunity for someone … (and) Jake Lehmann has done that in the past," he said.
"Looking forward, as the vice-captain of Australia, I want to keep developing my leadership qualities and I think I'm doing that at the moment."
The Australia A clash in Perth, a day-night affair that starts on Monday, shapes as a pivotal selection trial for the first Test later this month, with at least two batting spots up for grabs.
Ashes squad members Head, Khawaja and Marcus Harris will be joined by Joe Burns and Will Pucovski in an impressive top six, and a big score against the pink ball under lights could be enough to rocket one of that group into the Test squad.
"I think it's healthy, that competitiveness and that pressure," Carey said.
"I'm sure the guys will go out and look to win a game for Australia firstly and the way to do that is to go and make big runs.
"There's so much experience in that group so I'm sure they'll work out a way to make some runs. It's a pink-ball game under lights, which has proven more difficult at times, so it's an exciting three days coming up."
Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Australia squad: TBC
Pakistan squad: Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan Snr, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.
Warm-up match: v Australia A, November 11-13, Perth Stadium (d/n)
Warm-up match: v Cricket Australia XI, November 15-16, WACA Ground
First Test: November 21-25, Gabba (Seven, Fox & Kayo)