Men's Ashes 2021-22
Accent or not, Inglis is Aussie through and through
Yorkshire-born Western Australian vying for vacant Test keeping spot reveals how a sports psychologist has helped put him on verge of earning a Baggy Green
29 November 2021, 01:45 PM AEST
Josh Inglis might have unwillingly reprised his British accent but there will no question of split loyalties if the Leeds-born wicketkeeper gets the nod to make his Test debut against his native country next week.
The 26-year-old, who has been tipped by Ricky Ponting as a future all-format superstar, expects to find out in the coming days whether selectors have picked him or Australia's other main 'keeping contender, Alex Carey, to be Tim Paine's successor for the upcoming Vodafone Ashes series.
Speaking to reporters on Monday from Australia's pre-Ashes quarantine camp on the Gold Coast, Inglis was well aware the English 'twang' he thought he no longer spoke with was now quite apparent after spending the northern summer playing for Leicestershire and the London Spirit.
It was a homecoming of sorts having grown up playing for Yorkshire's underage teams before his family fell in love with the Australian lifestyle while on holiday and moved to Perth in 2010 when he was 14.
Inglis made his debut for Western Australia five years later, before a breakout season across all three formats last summer saw him picked in Australia's T20 World Cup-winning squad as the back-up gloveman.
"They'd obviously be really proud and happy for me if it were to happen," the uncapped gloveman said of his family's likely reaction should he get the nod over the more experienced Carey. "It's incredibly exciting.
"There might be a bit of banter thrown over the dinner table, but other than that I'm sure they'd be happy for me.
"As a kid growing up in England, I supported England. Obviously that's all changed now (since) moving to Australia.
"A few of the boys were joking around at the World Cup that I was singing the English national anthem, which was definitely not the case."
Paine's decision to resign the Test captaincy and take an indefinite break from cricket has seen Inglis him surge into contention to earn a Baggy Green in next week's first Test against England at the Gabba.
Inglis admits "it's quite crazy to think how far I have come in a short space of time" given that when Australia picked 37 different players for overlapping Test and T20I tours in January (19 for the cancelled South Africa Test series, 18 for T20s in New Zealand), he was not among them.
The right-hander subsequently capped a terrific domestic campaign with his third Marsh Sheffield Shield century of the season, a notable feat given he had gone 34 first-class matches without one before his first for WA a few months earlier.
The game situations in which his Shield runs came last summer will have also been keenly observed by selectors.
His second century, a rapid 122-ball 125 against Victoria in November last year, came from No.8 (having moved down from his usual No.7 after WA used a nightwatchman) and saw him shepherd the tail in putting on 207 for the final four wickets during the Adelaide Shield bubble.
His ability to score with his team's back against the wall was on display again in March (again against the Vics) when he came in with WA reeling at 5-114 in their first innings before his 115 off 159 deliveries helped his side reach 391 and then romp to a massive 247-run victory.
The key, Inglis revealed on Monday, was an improvement in his mental approach to batting for which he credits WA assistant coach Beau Casson as well as the highly-rated former WACA sports psychologist, Matt Burgin, who has since taken up a role with Cricket Australia.
"I just really narrowed down my focus and my routines and that held me in really good stead going into the Shield hub last season," said Inglis.
"I did a lot of work with our 'psych' and our batting coach Beau Casson on that. I really wanted to just to face more balls and really prolong my innings.
"Just by narrowing my focus, I was able to do that and score a few hundreds. That was really pleasing.
"I just got to the stage before last season where I was playing well, but I was getting a lot of fifties and starts, and not going on.
"That was something that I really wanted to work on in my game. It plays on your mind about 20 or 25 Shield games (into your career) without making a hundred.
"I went to Matt Burgin … and I spoke in depth about that and it was brilliant. It changed my game and allowed me to build a couple of big innings last year."
Vodafone Men's Ashes v England
Nov 30 – Dec 3: England v England Lions, Brisbane
Dec 1-3: Australian intra-squad match, Brisbane
Dec 9-12: Australia A v England Lions, Brisbane
First Test: December 8-12, The Gabba
Second Test: December 16-20, Adelaide Oval
Third Test: December 26-30, MCG
Fourth Test: January 5-9, SCG
Fifth Test: January 14-18, Perth Stadium