Alex Carey has been locked in as Australia’s first-choice keeper at the World Cup amid pressure from Josh Inglis as a crucial checkpoint has been revealed for injured opener Travis Head to keep his hopes of joining the tournament alive.
In his past nine white-ball innings in the lead-up to Australia’s World Cup opener against India on Sunday, Carey has passed 30 just once and recorded three single figure scores in T20s and ODIs in South Africa.
Carey has made just one ODI half-century in his past 13 matches, a 99 in South Africa in the middle of a long run of low scores.
Given his chance to fill Carey’s role in an ODI against India, Inglis made 45 in Mohali and then backed that up by making 48 in the final World Cup warm-up match playing as a batter.
Australian coach Andrew McDonald said Inglis had impressed in his 20 matches for Australia across T20s and ODIs and would have a role to play at the World Cup.
But he said Carey was their main man in India.
“Our intentions are clear with Alex taking the gloves in the final warm-up game against Pakistan,” McDonald said.
“There’s no doubt Josh is playing an up-tempo game, the laps and reverse laps, he’s always been an option for us not only in the keeping space but in the batting space as well.
“We feel as though he may have a role in the tournament as a bat only and if something was to happen to Alex we’ve got a capable back-up who is not coming in raw into this environment.
“We’ve been impressed with what he has offered but Alex Carey over a period of time has been ultra impressive.”
The Australians carried Head, who broke his hand in South Africa and remains at home in Adelaide doing rehab, in their 15-man squad hopeful he would be available to continue his strong opening partnership with David Warner at the back-end of the tournament.
McDonald said they were getting almost daily updates from Head and confirmed he had to meet a key marker in the middle of October to determine whether he would travel to India to link up with the squad.
“He’s pretty engaged with the group and official updates will happen around the 11th or 12th October with how that bone is healing,” McDonald said.
“That will give us more information into the final timeframe and when he can join the group.”
All-rounder Marcus Stoinis is set to miss the opening match against India with a hamstring complaint, but McDonald was adamant the squad was in better shape than it was two weeks ago.
“A few of those moving parts that we had leading in have unfolded positive for us which is nice,” he said.
“If you had of asked me two weeks ago I would have been a little bit worried but everything seems to have come together nicely.”