Off the back of a record-breaking Sheffield Shield season and selection in Australia A’s tour of South Africa as the sole gloveman, it’s fair to assume Alex Carey is the next national wicketkeeper.
Carey beat former Australia Test wicketkeepers Peter Nevill and Tim Paine to the Australia A post, capping off a remarkable season for the West End Redbacks.
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The 25-year-old pouched a Shield-record 59 dismissals last summer and also registered 594 runs, the fourth player in the first-class competition’s history to post 50 dismissals and 500 runs in the same season.
Now, Carey is perhaps just one injury to Australia incumbent Matthew Wade away from earning a national call-up and if given the opportunity the ‘keeper, like he did so often in 2016-17, will take it with both hands, according to South Australia teammate Kane Richardson.
"You’ve always got to be thinking you’re only one broken finger away from playing," Richardson told cricket.com.au.
"Peter Nevill is still around, he’s still a quality performer.
"Carey’s just to go to keep making runs and his ‘keeping will take care of itself and hopefully sooner rather than later he’ll get into the Australian team in one of the formats and stay there."
Carey’s path to the ‘A’ tour of South Africa, where he will stand behind the stumps in both the four-day and 50-over series, is one that’s becoming more and more travelled.
A promising left-handed batsman, Carey was a late bloomer as a wicketkeeper, almost an experiment that has ultimately proved a resounding success.
Richardson has seen Carey develop into the star he is today, and says it’s the stumper’s tireless work ethic that’s driven him to the cusp of international selection.
"I think he surprised a lot of people at how natural he’s become at it because it isn’t really a natural thing for him," Richardson said.
"He’s been a batsman during his junior career, then he went and played football. Coming back into the team (the coaches) gave him the gloves to see how he went.
"I don’t think anybody expected him to take 60-odd catches and take the catches that he took. He’s blown those expectations out of the water.
"Now for him it’s about doing it at the level above and then doing it again next year in Shield cricket.
"I’m sure he will, he works harder than anybody I’ve ever seen.
"He’s going up to the National Cricket Centre so he’s only going to get fitter and his batting will keep coming along. He’s a really impressive young talent."