Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey, known for his dynamic performances with the bat and gloves, has experienced a rollercoaster year marked by challenges and opportunities. The 32-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman reflects on the highs and lows of 2023, emphasizing his commitment to Test cricket despite setbacks in the limited-overs formats.
Inconsistencies in Form: A Year in Review
Carey’s journey in 2023 began with a century in his last Test innings in Australia during the Boxing Day Test a year ago. However, subsequent struggles in the Border-Gavaskar series, particularly against Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, led to a dip in form. The World Test Championship final and the Ashes series in Birmingham witnessed a resurgence, only for another downturn after a controversial run-out at Lord’s.
The white-ball formats presented further challenges, with Josh Inglis replacing Carey early in Australia’s World Cup-winning campaign. Despite the ups and downs, Carey remains determined and acknowledges the disappointment of losing his spot in the XI.
“I was surprised,” Carey admitted, reflecting on the World Cup snub. “Obviously really disappointed to lose my spot there. But, I guess once that news was delivered it was, I guess process it, try to learn from it and then go to work in the nets.”
Despite challenges in the shorter formats, Carey receives unwavering support as Australia’s first-choice gloveman in Test cricket. Head coach Andrew McDonald affirmed this commitment, stating, “He’s our number one choice in Test cricket. Our view on that hasn’t changed for a period of time and don’t see it changing in the immediate future.”
Reflective Break and Renewed Focus
The year’s highs and lows provided Carey with an opportunity for a mental and technical reset. Time on the sidelines allowed him to consult with batting coach Michael di Venuto and coaching consultant Andy Flower. Carey’s recent return to Sheffield Shield cricket saw him score a fine second-innings 81 for South Australia in a narrow defeat to Victoria.
“The silver lining is I had a mini pre-season over there [in India] as well,” Carey mentioned. “It was nice just to get different opinions and talk to different people. My self-belief has always been really strong. All I can do is sort of control what I can do and continue to prepare and find ways to get better. I’m excited to get out there and play.”
As Carey sets his sights on the upcoming Test series against Pakistan, he does so with renewed confidence, a refreshed mindset, and a determination to contribute significantly to Australia’s success.