Tim Paine scandal | Alex Carey, Josh Inglis the front-runners for Ashes wicketkeeping spot


Alex Carey has the inside running to make his Test debut in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, following confirmation that former skipper Tim Paine will take indefinite leave from the game.

That’s the view of another former captain, Mark Taylor, who noted that Carey had been around the Australian side for nearly four years, having made his ODI debut in January, 2018, coincidentally against England at the Gabba.

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Paine was the only wicketkeeper named in the 15-man squad for the first two Ashes Tests, although Carey and Western Australia’s Josh Inglis were picked in an extended Australia A squad, presumably a pointer to the fact they’re next in line.

“The logical order to me is Carey, Inglis and (Jimmy) Peirson, unless they’re concerned about runs and they throw (Matthew) Wade back in, which would be a shock, there’s no doubt about it,” Taylor told Wide World of Sports.

“At least with Matthew Wade they know they’ve got a guy who made two Ashes hundreds in 2019.

“He’s got that in his resume that the others don’t. But I think it’s time to look to the future.”

Wade turns 34 next month and recently flagged the likelihood of retiring from international cricket after next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.

Carey is 30, while Peirson is 29 and Inglis 26. It’s likely to be too early for 24-year-old Josh Philippe.

“It would be difficult to go back to Matthew Wade, he was the incumbent number five last summer, but then he was left out of the team for the tour of South Africa that never went ahead,” Taylor explained.

“They’ve more or less dropped him, so I don’t think they’ll go back there. They’ll have to look forward, which means Alex Carey is the number one option.

“He’s been around the side as the successor to Tim Paine, and has played in the short-form of the game. He’s the candidate that looks the most likely.”

Carey averages an impressive 35.66 in first class cricket, narrowly shading Inglis who averages 34.03, while Peirson’s 33.06 is also respectable.

“First and foremost, with Australia’s bowling attack, you want to have your best wicketkeeper,” Taylor said.

“The first job is to make sure you take your catches, and then hopefully contribute a few runs.”

Carey has the most international experience, having played 45 ODIs and 38 T20s, and has captained Australia in the 50-over format.

According to Taylor, that could be the decisive factor.

“I think that helps, and once again the fact that Carey has been around the team for longer, it’s been nearly four years,” he explained.

“He’s been the heir apparent for a while.”

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