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My immediate thought was excitement: Carey on receiving call for Ashes

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Sydney, Jan 1 (IANS) Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey said his first thought on hearing his call-up for the Ashes squad was ‘excitement’. He added that featuring in T20 Internationals and one-day matches for Australia helped him adjust quicker to the demands of Test cricket.

Carey was called into the Ashes squad after former captain Tim Paine took an indefinite mental break from the game due to lewd text messages from 2017 with a former Cricket Tasmania staffer resurfacing just three weeks before the marquee series began. It culminated in Paine stepping down from captaincy, with Pat Cummins taking over. Paine eventually took a mental well-being break from all forms of cricket.

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“My immediate thought was excitement. I’ve been able to get an opportunity, but it’s not great circumstances. I was excited just to be recognised as closer to playing (Tests) for Australia, and a lot of hard work over a number of years has paid off,” Carey was quoted as saying by WA Today.

Before making his Test debut in the Ashes, Carey had turned out for Australia in 45 ODIs and 38 T20Is. Being a consistent figure in white-ball matches for Australia, including being the captain, did come handy during his initiation into Test cricket.

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“I think it certainly helps, coming in with a huge build-up to the summer and with the Ashes. Not expecting to be in the team and then when I do get the call I feel like the experience I’ve had with the white-ball teams probably made me feel like I was able to come into the team and immediately have an impact with my skill sets rather than probably seeing it as this huge occasion that’s a bit of a blur.

“Having the opportunity to play some big games like in the semifinal of the World Cup and a number of T20 and one-day games for Australia alongside a lot of these guys it’s made me feel like I’m coming in ready. I’ve been able to enjoy it as well as work hard and get out there and get stuck in. I felt really free and in the moment enjoying the time in the middle alongside Davy (David Warner) and Smudge (Steve Smith) at slip with Paddy (Pat Cummins) and the other bowlers charging in.”

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In three Tests, Carey has amassed 97 runs, including a 51 at his home ground in Adelaide. With the gloves, Carey has taken 14 catches, including eight in Brisbane, which is the most by a wicketkeeper on Test debut. The 30-year-old is thankful for the opportunity of seeing his boyhood dream to play Test cricket turn into reality.

“Yeah, it’s boyhood dreams. When you’re a youngster you dream about it a bit and then as you become a professional cricketer you have those goals written down, or I do anyway, to achieve the ultimate and play Test cricket. When you’re growing up, the biggest day of the calendar was to wake up on Christmas Day, get a new bat, and then knock it in when you were watching the Boxing Day Test.

“It was something pretty special to be able to walk out there (on the MCG) and have the baggy green on. The way we did it, and winning the Ashes in that Test match as well, it was very surreal. I’m just really grateful for that opportunity that was given to me.”

–IANS

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