Australia might have fielded an unprecedented four keeper-batters in yesterday’s ODI win over the West Indies, but a couple of former greats believe the player who looms as the nation’s next Test gloveman was not among them.
The appearance of stand-in skipper Alex Carey alongside Matthew Wade, Josh Phillipe and Ben McDermott – all of whom have kept at international or interstate level – in Barbados has intensified debate over who’s likely to take over from incumbent Test captain Tim Paine.
But ex-Australia legends Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist have this week joined Ricky Ponting in highlighting the claims of uncapped Western Australia keeper Josh Inglis who starred in the UK’s recent T20 Blast competition and has been signed to play for Warne’s London Spirit outfit in the newly minted Hundred tournament.
While Gilchrist acknowledged Inglis is seemingly locked in a battle with Carey for the Test berth when Paine hangs up his gloves, Warne was more bullish about his new charge’s credentials and endorsed him as front-runner to be Australia’s next long-term gloveman.
“He’s gonna play for Australia, definitely … I think he’s going to be the (Test) keeper-batsman after Tim Paine,” Warne told radio station SEN from the UK today.
“He’s very clean behind the stumps, very soft hands, and a good mover behind the stumps.
“With the bat he’s one of those new, modern 360 (degree) players.
“He’s got every single shot – he’s got the ramp, the reverse ramps and he’s got the traditional normal shots as well.
“He’s very switched on and hungry for knowledge.
“When you try and separate at top-level sport what makes a difference, sometimes it’s just the way they think or their match awareness of doing the right thing at the right time.
“So far he hasn’t put a foot wrong.
“He’s very, very impressive and I reckon he’s going to be representing Australia very, very quickly.”
Inglis, who was born in Yorkshire but emigrated to Perth with his family at age 14, is leading runs scorer (at a strike rate of 175.82 per 100 balls faced) and the only player to have posted two centuries in the qualifying rounds of the T20 Blast, where he played for Leicestershire.
The 26-year-old was then a late addition to the London Spirit squad after Victoria allrounder Glenn Maxwell opted out of the inaugural iteration of the Hundred.
But it’s also the right-hander’s return in recent Marsh Sheffield Shield games – he was the leading scorer among specialist keepers last summer with 585 runs at 73.13 as well as 25 dismissals from eight matches behind the stumps – that has him viewed as an all-format player.
Gilchrist, who skippered Australia in six Tests, 17 ODIs and a couple of T20Is, noted Carey could “most definitely” emerge as Australia’s next white-ball captain when Aaron Finch – who missed the first ODI of the Qantas Tour of the West Indies – calls time on his career.
“He (Carey) has been pegged as a…
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