He's in: Alex Carey will make his Test debut at the Gabba after being named as Tim Paine's replacement behind the stumps. Image: cricket.com.au

Alex Carey will be the 463rd men's Test cricketer for Australia, after it was confirmed he would debut in the First Ashes Test at the Gabba

Alex Carey has won the battle, confirmed this morning by Cricket Australia that he will make his Test debut at the Gabba in the first Ashes test, being officially named as Tim Paine’s replacement behind the stumps.

Hailing from Loxton South Australia and the one-time captain of the GWS Giants, the newest AFL club which he led in its infancy before they were admitted to the AFL competition, Carey will become Australia’s 463rd men’s Test cricketer next week having won out over rising star Josh Inglis to replace Paine in Australia’s squad for the first two Tests against England.

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Paine’s resignation from Test captaincy and decision to take a leave of absence from all forms of cricket to focus on his mental health and his family left Australia in need of a new wicketkeeper just weeks before the biggest test series in cricket is contested once again and have called on the man who has been widely tipped to be the next in line for some time now.

Carey has represented his country 89 times across One-Day and T20 Cricket for Australia, most recently captaining Australia in the One Day series earlier this year in the West Indies in the absence of Aaron Finch. But he will enter this international summer with a fresh baggy green cap on his head and with an important role to play both with the bat in the lower order and behind the stumps.

Interestingly, Carey will become the first Australian men’s wicketkeeper to debut at home in Australia since Adam Gilchrist debuted at the Gabba against Pakistan in November 1999.

“I am incredibly humbled by this opportunity. It’s an exciting build-up for what is a huge series ahead,” Carey said in a release.

“My focus is on preparing and playing my part in helping Australia secure the Ashes.

“This is also for my dad who has been my coach, mentor, and mate, my mum, my wife Eloise, kids Louis and Clementine, my brother and sister, and all of those who have supported me. I will be doing my absolute best to make them and our country proud.”

Carey was informed by chief selector George Bailey shortly after Carey joined the rest of the squad on Monday, a day after scoring a century in the Marsh Cup game against Tasmania.

“George came up to me on Monday and shook my hand and gave me the news… I was pretty speechless and a smile from ear to ear” Carey told reporters at the NCC on Thursday.

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After an extended run of cricket in the first half of the domestic summer, Carey said he was confident he could emulate his previous international and first-class experience into the cauldron of the new experience that is an Ashes series and Test cricket.

Having gone to World Cups and played alot of cricket with Australia’s front line bowling attack before, Carey has begun settling into working and preparing himself to keep to some of the world’s best bowlers and teammates.

“It’s obviously really exciting to be able to stand behind the stumps to the likes of the players you just mentioned [Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazelwood, etc] some of the best players in the world.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to keep to them in One-Day cricket, some T20 Cricket as well.

“I’ll be preparing how I usually would for a 4-day match. I’ll get behind the stumps to Gaz [Nathan Lyon] and the quicks.

“It is Test cricket and it is a dream come true”.

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Carey’s Shield form with the bat to start the season has been patchy at best, passing fifty only once in eight innings and averaging 21.85. Despite the lean run this season, he has in fact been one of the more consistent first-class run makers in Australia over recent years.

Over the preceding three Sheffield Shield seasons, the left-hander has averaged 59.64 with the bat and scored four hundreds in nine matches. 

But Test cricket looms as the next new experience for Carey. A job that he is excited to get to work and prepare for. Including facing English pace stalwarts James Anderson and Stuart Broad for the very first time in his career.

“That will be a new experience. I’m looking forward to ” he said

“They have [England] got a star-studded line-up as well, they have been playing some really good test cricket. So have we.

“That’s what I’m really excited about, them going shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Steve Smith, Marnus is in amazing form, Cameron Green is scoring runs, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja… Our line-up is in really good shape”

With less than a week to go until the first ball is bowled, Australia was forced to cancel a 3-day intra-squad warm-up game due to inclement weather at Redlands and were forced inside again for practice. England, meanwhile was able to get some play in at Ian Healy Oval in their 2nd go at an intra squad match, getting valuable match practice in before the first test.

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