Alex Carey maintains his focus.
Alex Carey maintains his focus.

‘A gun in all facets’: Gilly’s high praise for Aussie keeper

AUSTRALIA'S greatest ever wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist has heaped praise on South Australia's Alex Carey, dubbing the 26-year-old "a gun in all facets."

Carey made his one-day international and Twenty20 debuts for Australia last summer and in April was rewarded with his first ever Cricket Australia contract.

His presence on the 20-man-list alongside fellow wicketkeeper and Test captain Tim Paine suggests he will play plenty of white ball cricket over the next 12 months. It's a move Gilchrist is backing - both because of Carey's ability and the need to manage Paine's workload as Test captain.

"He's a gun in all facets," Gilchrist, who last week signed on to be the face of Fox Sports Cricket, said of Carey on The Back Page Live. "He's a very capable gloveman. He's very athletic, strong ... He's a terrific young man and he bats beautifully too."

Gilchrist saw plenty of Carey in the Big Bash League last year when he was a part of Network Ten's commentary team. He was understandably impressed by what he saw. In any other season the keeper would have been the story of the tournament, with the 443 runs he racked up at an average of 49.22 second only to D'Arcy Short (572 at 57.20) for the season. They are the two largest season-hauls in BBL history.

 

Adam Gilchrist is the head of the new Fox Sports commentary team for the cricket.
Adam Gilchrist is the head of the new Fox Sports commentary team for the cricket.

Carey is no white ball specialist either, with healthy numbers in each of the past two Sheffield Shield seasons (455 at 35.00 in 2017-18, 594 at 33.00 in 2016-17) and the record for the most completed dismissals in a Shield campaign in 2016-17 (59).

Last summer he showed he was ready for the step-up to the next level too, impressing with a quick fire 27 off 24 on ODI debut and maintaining impeccable standards behind the stumps across the six internationals he played.

"The most smooth transition to international cricket that I can remember for a long time," Gilchrist said.

"It just looked like he belonged there so he's a superstar. I think he has to play in the 50-over format and that will allow Tim Paine just to carry out his role now - the extra responsibility that he has in Test cricket."

Alex Carey debuted for Australia last summer.
Alex Carey debuted for Australia last summer.

Gilchrist captained Australia 25 times in Test and one-day cricket but spent a large chunk of his career as deputy to captains Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting.

There has long been a school of thought in Australian cricket that wicketkeepers should not be captain as they have too much on their plate already. It's a theory Gilchrist does not buy into, backing Paine as the right man for the job in the Test arena despite never coveting the role himself during his playing days. He says you don't have to look further than India for proof keepers can handle captaincy.

"MS Dhoni was a fantastic leader for India for years and he was batting, captaining, keeping and being a legend in front of 1.2 billion (people) so don't pigeon hole (keepers), it's different horses for different courses.

"I didn't covet it and I wouldn't have been able to do it full time. I think I would have been all consumed by it but Tim Paine, I think he's right to do that."

The keeper also backed opener Aaron Finch to captain Australia's ODI team.

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