He was quite an unknown commodity before the start of the ICC World Cup 2019. But by the time of the second semi-final between Australia and England, wicket-keeper batsman Alex Carey has become one of the standout performers of the tournament.
Batting lower down the order for Australia, Carey has been superb – collecting runs under difficult situations and at a healthy strike-rate. In the 9 matches he has played so far in the tournament, Carey has made 329 runs at an average of 65.80 and a strike-rate of 113.44 with 3 fifties.
Carey is, in fact, the third-highest run-getter for Australia in World Cup 2019 after David Warner and Aaron Finch. This just goes to show the value of his runs that has helped Australia reach the semi-finals of the event. In a middle-order that has been struggling to get going, Carey’s performance has been a life-saver for Australia.
All his contributions have been valuable – 45 off 62 balls v the West Indies, 55* off 35 balls v India, 38* of 41 balls v England, 71 off 72 balls v New Zealand and 85 off 69 balls v South Africa – and came under difficult circumstances. Had Carey got more support in his knocks against India and South Africa, he might well have finished the game for the team too.
In fact, now with Carey showing such consistency and batting so fluently, there are talks of promoting him up the order. The injury to Usman Khwaja and the lack of form of Glen Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis, who have been unable to make any significant scores in the middle-order, certainly makes a case for Carey to come up and make an impact. But then again, having such a specialist batsman at No.7 gives the team great cushion and makes their batting lineup intimidating for the opposition.
“He’s batting beautifully, isn’t he?” said Australian coach Justin Langer to the media recently about Alex Carey. “The way he’s playing is exciting, not just for now but for a very long career ahead.”
Prior to the World Cup, Carey had played only 19 ODIs and scored a solitary fifty. Bowlers around the world didn’t know much about this gutsy left-handed batsman. But things have turned around for Cray quite drastically. While his glove work behind the stumps hasn’t always been clean, he has done a decent enough job – 17 catches and 2 stumping – and should only get better with more time.
It is his batting, though, that must be getting Australia excited. Irrespective of where they end up in World Cup 2019, there is no denying that Alex Carey has been the find of the tournament for them. He has shown exceptional calmness and maturity in his batting while also displaying an ability to strike it long and clean and play aggressively without slogging. To have such a proper batsman down the order – who is almost like a blend of Jos Butler and Mushfiqur Rahim – will be a great advantage for Australia in the future across all formats.
In fact, it won’t be surprising at all if Carey, who hasn’t made his Test debut yet, is selected for the big Ashes series in England later this year. Exciting times lie ahead then for Alex Crey.