Gloveless Carey set for county debut as specialist bat
Australia's back-up Ashes wicketkeeper to play for Sussex's four-day side, but won't be in preferred spot behind stumps
18 August 2019, 09:05 AM AEST
World Cup star Alex Carey, anointed Tim Paine's Ashes understudy despite not making the 17-man Ashes squad, will this week get some welcome red-ball cricket under his belt – though his keeping gloves won't leave his kit bag.
Carey, who has 151 runs at 37.75 in four domestic T20 innings for Sussex this season, has been granted permission by Cricket Australia to play for the club's four-day side when their County Championship season resumes with a game against Middlesex on Sunday.
But Australia's limited-overs vice-captain, named as the ICC's keeper in their team of the World Cup, won't be in his preferred position behind the stumps, with Sussex coach and fellow South Australian Jason Gillespie explaining club captain Ben Brown will instead take the gloves.
“Alex Carey is a great 'in' for us, most certainly" said Gillespie, who also coaches Carey at KFC Big Bash club Adelaide Strikers. "He’s fitted in really well at Sussex and to have him available for a Championship match is just fantastic.
"He can enjoy a bit of a run around in the field with the captain behind the sticks and enjoy playing first-class cricket in England and most importantly at a beautiful ground like Hove."
Carey, who had to fly to Switzerland after the World Cup in order to have his United Kingdom visa renewed, said he was unfazed by not getting the gloves for the first-class match.
"It doesn’t bother me at all, to be honest I am really excited for the next couple of weeks," the 27-year-old told the Chichester Observer. "I love that there are so many games in such a short space of time. That’s what really appeals, I just want to get out there and play."
Carey missed selection in Australia's Ashes squad, but has stayed on in the United Kingdom playing T20s for Sussex after his breakout World Cup, which yielded 375 runs at 62.50.
It was the most prolific campaign by a lower-order batsman in the tournament's history, prompting Steve Waugh to liken him to Mike Hussey and suggest he could play in the Ashes as a specialist batter.
But despite not picking him in the initial Ashes touring party and including former Test keeper Matthew Wade and Cameron Bancroft, a part-time gloveman who has performed the role for Australia in T20 cricket, selection chief Trevor Hohns confirmed Carey was essentially the back-up to captain Paine.
“(It was) a very tough call on Alex,” chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said. "He’s been in very good form, as we saw in the World Cup.
“We know in the short term if anything was to happen to Tim Paine, either during a game or what have you, we have two people in that squad who can cover.
“But if it were to be a long-term (issue) that’s where Alex would come in. He’s still in the country and we’d have no hesitation calling him in.”
Wade, who has batted at six in his return to Test cricket as a specialist batter, took the gloves for Australia's tour match against Worcestershire last week while Paine took a break between the first and second Tests.
Sussex sit second from bottom of the County Championship's second division standings on 100 points.
Batsman Peter Handscomb meanwhile has been named to make his Championship debut for Durham against Leicestershire on Sunday, having replaced Bancroft at the club.
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: August 14-18,Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval