Alex Carey scored the second most runs of any player last season.
Alex Carey scored the second most runs of any player last season.

Carey a special talent and born leader: Healy

IAN Healy believes a successful Australian regeneration can be built around born leader Alex Carey as it searches for men of steel to emulate Steve Waugh's fightback from 1980s despair.

Carey must bide his time behind Test skipper Tim Paine but Healy says Australia has a special one in the 26-year-old keeper-batsman.

Carey was the only top six batsman to pass 30 in a demoralising, record seventh straight one-day loss to South Africa on Sunday in Perth.

"He is a really good cricketer. Definitely has that athleticism with the gloves for sure. His work up to the stumps has really improved, has a really solid understanding of his technique," Healy told The Advertiser.

"The thing I like about him other than his technical and performance levels are most teams he has played for have had success. He is such a good influence on his team."

Youngbloods including Waugh, Dean Jones and Healy were fast tracked into the Test team during the mid to late 1980s as Australia dealt with the retirements of Greg Chappell, Rod Marsh, Dennis Lillee and Kim Hughes' Rebel tours to South Africa.

Former GWS midfielder Carey has played just four one-day games for Australia but is already vice-captain to Aaron Finch and anointed as 2019 World Cup keeper.

"He might not even have a clue why he is talked about as vice-captain talk when he has played such little cricket but that is the mark of the man," said Healy of Carey whose 443 runs at 49 bankrolled Adelaide Strikers 2017-18 Big Bash League title.

"He is a great team man to have around.

"I see where we are in cricket right now as the mid-1980s and that is what Greg Chappell and Laurie Sawle said about picking talented character so when that character gets confident the talent will come out.

 

Alex Carey of Australia plays a sweep shot during game one of the One Day International against South Africa at Perth Stadium. Picture: James Worsfold/Getty Images
Alex Carey of Australia plays a sweep shot during game one of the One Day International against South Africa at Perth Stadium. Picture: James Worsfold/Getty Images
 

"That's Steve Waugh, Dean Jones, Mark Waugh. I was a later one of those and that type of selection. I think we have gone right back to 1985."

Paine's sterling leadership since succeeding Steve Smith as Test captain in Johannesburg means the 15-Test custodian could continue beyond next year's Ashes series.

Carey - who holds the record for most dismissals in a Sheffield Shield season (59) - will be up to the job in the baggy green should form or injury afflict Paine.

"I reckon he is ready for sure, capable of doing that Painey has done. We are lucky we have Alex Carey jogging on the spot," said Healy, who will front Fox Sport's cricket coverage.

"I was reasonably happy they didn't pick Alex for the start of the Ashes last summer. I think he knows his game better now.

 

Alex Carey has backed the Australian batsmen. Picture: AAP Image/David Mariuz
Alex Carey has backed the Australian batsmen. Picture: AAP Image/David Mariuz

 

"Painey is the Test match captain until we need another one. I can't see Painey putting in performances that are not effective."

Australia owes Paine, 34 next month, a debt of gratitude for guiding it through dual, casualty-laden, cultural reviews with a stoicism reminiscent of Allan Border.

"He will get through as the Test match captain and deserves to but geez he has had some work to do, a full cultural review and invigorating the ranks again with Justin Langer," said Healy, rated by Shane Warne as 'the best keeper' he has seen.

"He knows his game so well and we have been very lucky to have him in the ranks."



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