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Carey hopes World Cup success can translate to red-ball form

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Following his success during Australia’s 2019 World Cup campaign, wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey is keen on carrying his success over to red-ball cricket, ahead of the Ashes series that kicks off on August 1.

Though he batted at No.7 for the most part, Carey was one of the standout performers for Australia through the World Cup, making the tough runs and impressing with his ability to score under pressure. It was a performance that caught the attention of Steve Waugh, who compared the 27-year-old to Michael Bevan and Michael Hussey, two of the finest white-ball finishers of all time.

With Waugh now set to take up a mentoring role with the national team for the early parts of the Ashes campaign, Carey welcomed the opportunity to work with an all-time great. “If I’m half as good as him [Hussey], I’ll be happy, he’s an incredible player,” Carey said.

“Having Steve here is amazing for the group. He’s won Ashes series and played a lot here, so to have the knowledge of Steve Waugh – one of the greatest Australian cricketers – is something we’re really lucky to have.”

As was the case against most opponents during his international career, Waugh excelled as a batsman and as a leader against arch-rivals England. His unbeaten 157 at The Oval during the 2001 series, which he scored after having torn his calf muscle in the previous Test, signified immense grit and is rated as one of the best Ashes innings.

Sharing his experience interacting with the former World Cup-winning captain, Carey said that he looks forward to imbibing the virtues of patience and concentration to succeed as a Test batsman.

“It’s just great knowledge to have,” he said. “I’ve had a few little chats with him, but more moving now into the red ball and getting that focus of a longer format: the patience of the game, staying focused for longer, little things that will come out over the next few days. The more we train, the more you start talking, you start asking questions.”

Carey came good in a vast number of situations during the World Cup. While his innings against West Indies and New Zealand steadied Australia after the loss of early wickets batting first, against India and South Africa, he blazed away in tall chases, despite the rest of the batting order largely not being anywhere close to as fluent.

“I guess different circumstances throughout the World Cup were really good learning experiences for me,” he said. “Having [Steve] Smith and [David] Warner back in the side, and the experienced guys I got to bat with, you learn a lot out in the middle.

“Obviously, batting [at] seven, you hope to come in during the last 10, and if you don’t, then you do your best through the middle to be busy, occupy the crease. At times, it felt just like play good cricket, and play a bit of Test cricket – absorb some pressure and rebuild at times. It was good to go through different circumstances and have some success.”

Carey will keep wicket for the Haddin XII, led by Travis Head, against Test captain Tim Paine’s Hick XII, during Australia’s four-day intra-squad Ashes warm-up game that begins on July 23 in Southampton.

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