Carey edges towards record Shield season

Redbacks gloveman nears South Australian wicketkeeping record as he approaches rare 500-run, 50 dismissal double

In just his first full season behind the stumps for the West End Redbacks, wicketkeeper Alex Carey is on the verge of breaking South Australia's all-time record for the most Sheffield Shield dismissals in a season. 

And with 45 catches and a stumping to his name with two home-and-away matches still to come, the overall competition record isn't out of Carey's reach either.

The 25-year-old looks certain to break Tim Ludeman's South Australian record of 47 dismissals in a single Shield season, set in 2012-13.

At his current rate of nearly six dismissals per match, Carey could well challenge the benchmark of 58 dismissals set by Queensland stalwart Wade Seccombe in 2000-01, and equalled by his Bulls successor Chris Hartley in 2011-12.

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Should the Redbacks, currently in second place on the Shield ladder, make the competition final for a second successive summer, it'll give Carey 11 matches in all to surpass the all-time record.

Both Seccombe and Hartley played in all 10 regular season matches as well as the Shield final in their 58-dismissal seasons.

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While his form with the bat has cooled slightly after hitting three half-centuries in his first four hits of the season, Carey's solid run-scoring summer (371 runs at 28.53 so far) could see him become just the fourth player to complete the 50-dismissal, 500-run double in a season.

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Hartley is the only player to have achieved that feat multiple times (in 2008-09, 2011-12 and 2012-13), while Matthew Wade (in 2008-09) and Adam Gilchrist (1995-96) are the other two.

Carey's 46 dismissals this season is a staggering 22 more than the competition's next highest tally, Tasmania's Jake Doran with 24. By comparison, the highest individual tally last season was Hartley's 35 dismissals, while Carey and Ludeman, the former displacing the latter after seven Shield matches last season, effected 46 dismissals between them.

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Along with being the only 'keeper to have played in all eight possible matches, South Australia's strong fast-bowling attack has undoubtedly aided Carey's cause this season.

More than half of his season's haul has been provided by two bowlers alone; seamers Chadd Sayers, who has 50 wickets under his belt and is eyeing Colin Miller's best-ever Shield season of 67 scalps, and Kane Richardson. The pair have combined to feed Carey 30 of his 45 catches.

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But by the same token Carey has barely let a chance slip this season, with a one-hander stunner off a difficult inside-edged opportunity standing back to Richardson against NSW in December an example of his sharp work behind the stumps.

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He showed he's equally adept up to the stumps as well, assisting on three of leg-spinner Adam Zampa's six first-innings wickets in SA's most recent Shield match.

Carey, a promising junior footballer before he committed to cricket, followed up a sharp stumping off a leg-break that spun and bounced viciously past Queensland batsman Marnus Labuschagne with a nice pluck off an edged Cameron Gannon defensive push.

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While Carey's rise as one of the domestic competition's leading Shield 'keepers may be a surprise to some, Adelaide Strikers coach Jason Gillespie has previously sung his praises, with the former Test quick even calling for his inclusion in Australia's Test squad for India.

"He's made a good start to his Sheffield Shield career and he's shown he's very tidy behind the stumps for the Redbacks," Gillespie wrote in his column for in January. 

"I think picking someone like him (for India would be) a very forward-thinking option. It's an opportunity for him to learn and develop.

"I think he's very sharp with the gloves and I really think he's a player for the future."