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Carey firming as frontrunner to replace Paine in Ashes opener

Alex Carey is expected to be named as Australia’s wicketkeeper for the first men’s Ashes Test at the Gabba, with rival Josh Inglis returning home to Perth.

Twenty20 World Cup squad members Inglis, Mitch Marsh and Ashton Agar have flown out of Queensland after being released from quarantine.

Carey and fellow wicketkeeper Inglis are locked in a selection showdown to replace former captain Tim Paine in Australia’s XI for the Ashes opener, which begins on December 8.

Paine stepped down as captain earlier in the month after it was revealed he was involved in sexting scandal, while last week he announced he was unavailable for the Ashes series as he is taking a break from all forms of cricket.

Carey has represented Australia in 83 limited-overs matches.

He captained Australia A during the 2020/21season and has skippered Australia’s one-day side this year, with his leadership having been held in high regard by coach Justin Langer for many years.

The South Australian has also previously kept to Australia’s Test attack in white-ball matches, another factor that may be weighing on selectors’ minds.

Australian Test great Ricky Ponting is among those who have backed Inglis to make a Test debut at the Gabba, completing what would be a remarkably rapid rise.

Inglis is set to return to Brisbane soon after his pre-planned trip to see family, but the growing expectation is that it will likely be for an Australia A tour match rather than the first Test.

A smiling cricketer holds his bat aloft in one hand and his helmet in the other after completing a hundred in a Shield game.
Josh Inglis has received high-level support as a potential Test wicketkeeper.(Getty Images: Will Russell)

An intra-squad match in Brisbane on Wednesday was set to reveal some selection clues, but wet weather is expected to ruin at least two days of that tune-up fixture.

Australia will not name sides for the match, which is likely to resemble a centre-wicket session rather than a genuine contest.

National selectors must also soon decide whether Usman Khawaja or Travis Head will bat at number five in the first Ashes Test.

AAP/ABC

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