Alex Carey, who went unsold in the 2021 IPL auction, claimed that not being picked in the T20 extravaganza is ‘good and bad’ for him as it might just allow him to focus more on his Test ambitions. Carey is averaging 115.50 in the ongoing Shield season and struck his 5th FC ton on Sunday.
The past 18 months have been a mixed bag for Australian wicket-keeper Alex Carey. After impressing in the 2019 World Cup he landed himself an IPL deal and also saw himself become a mainstay for the Kangaroos in white-ball cricket. However, gradually he lost his place in the T20I side and last month, as a result of the same, went unsold in the 2021 IPL auction after being released by the Delhi Capitals. But there is also a silver lining for the South Australian keeper amidst all this.
The 29-year-old, last month, for the first time in his career, was named in Australia’s Test side for the now-cancelled tour of South Africa. Getting picked in the IPL prevented him from playing more first-class cricket in 2020, but that will not be the case this year, with him set to have a golden opportunity to push his case for Test selection.
Speaking to cricket.com.au, Carey described going unsold in the IPL as ‘good and bad’, for the reasons stated above.
"No IPL this year which is probably good and bad, so I'm looking forward to spending some time at home with the family,” Carey told cricket.com.au.
"I don't … look too far ahead, that (next Test opportunity) is probably next summer, so I guess for now it's these two (remaining Shield) and then see what happens in the winter. I haven't really got my winter mapped out yet, I'll probably take a bit of time off.”
The IPL will take place in the April-May window and, incidentally, Carey being free during this time will mean that he might have the opportunity to play County Cricket in England and get some valuable red-ball experience under his belt. The 29-year-old admitted that striking a County deal is something he will definitely consider, particularly now that it’s clear that the selectors see him as the heir apparent.
"(But county cricket) is something to consider at the moment, I'll speak to my wife (Eloise) and to a few guys once they get over there to see what it looks like in England with the (COVID) situation. Its certainly something at looking at, to play more cricket over there in first-class conditions."
The South Africa tour getting cancelled was unfortunate for Carey, who might have been in line to even make it to the starting XI as a specialist batsman, but that has given the southpaw the opportunity to feast on runs in Shield Cricket. And he has been doing just that, having notched up scores of 24, 82* and 125 since the competition’s restart. The wicket-keeper batsman expressed disappointment over the South Africa tour getting shelved but insisted that he is in the form of his life with the bat currently.
"I was really excited, and then disappointed the tour was cancelled. Not the fact that it shouldn't have been cancelled, but more because it was my first Test tour and it would have been a great experience to get over there and be around that Test group.
"I've never sat in a Test change-room before, so I was excited to do that and to be around some world-class cricketers at the highest level. I suppose it is (the best form of career to date), if you go back over the last maybe 15 first-class games.
"If anything I'm probably disappointed I didn't make a bigger score today and bat longer, but at the moment I feel confident and I guess my numbers are starting to show that over the past 18 to 24 months."