South Australia cricket director Jamie Cox has forecast “a long and bright career” for footballer-turned-cricketer Alex Carey, saying national selection is not beyond him.
As Dan Christian was again making headlines for all the wrong reasons, Carey was chosen to make his Sheffield Shield debut for SA against New South Wales just over a year after being cut by AFL club Greater Western Sydney Giants.
The batsman, 21, made his Ryobi Cup debut against the Blues on Sunday, compiling a composed 38 before falling leg-before-wicket.
The multi-talented sportsman is now primed to take the next step in a career which has taken more twists and turns than a corkscrew.
“It’s a just reward for Alex for his dedication and professionalism,” Cox said. “He gave football a red-hot go and it didn’t quite work out for him and to come back and perform so strongly at grade level and get this opportunity says a lot about the hard work he has put in.”
Carey, who is also an accomplished wicketkeeper and sits behind mainstay Tim Ludeman in the gloveman pecking order, has made 551 runs in grade cricket this season at an average of 51.
Cox said that having missed two seasons of cricket because of his footballing commitments with the Giants, Carey had a massive upside.
“He could go a long way,” Cox said. “Clearly he can bat but he’s also got all the other attributes which are so important in determining just how far players go in this game – character, attitude, work ethic and a desire to listen and be the best.”
Two other long-time grade performers, Kensington all-rounder Jake Brown and Woodville paceman Carl Tietjens, also have been promoted to SA’s Shield side to help plug holes left by the absence of Australian Test players Phil Hughes and Nathan Lyon and Australia A representatives Callum Ferguson and Kane Richardson.
All-rounder Christian was again left out of the side after his disciplinary record took another hit.