Alex Carey is on shaky ground after being left out of the Australian side for the opening T20 game in India.
Alex Carey is on shaky ground after being left out of the Australian side for the opening T20 game in India.

Shock axing could open door for World Cup recall

ALEX Carey's shock demotion from the Australian Twenty20 team may have left a door half open for Peter Handscomb at this year's 50-over World Cup.

It's likely Carey will still take the gloves for the first one-dayer against India starting on March 2, and there is second T20 to be played Wednesday (AEST), but the fact the team's vice-captain was left out for the opening match of such a high-stakes white-ball tour indicates he may no longer be on the solid ground that was originally assumed.

When Handscomb won a spot as Australia's one-day keeper over Matthew Wade on a tour of India back in 2017, it marked the beginning of the end for Wade's tenure in the national team, even if Handscomb didn't end up getting the job.

Carey might not be under anywhere near as much pressure as Wade was back then, but the fact Australia was prepared to leave him out for non-specialist keeper Handscomb in the thrilling T20 win over the Indians in Vizag shows that the South Australian will need to fire with the bat in the one-dayers against Virat Kohli and co. to lock down his place behind the stumps for the World Cup.

Momentum continues to grow for Wade to make an extraordinary comeback and keep at the World Cup, following his golden summer with the bat.

Recent selector Mark Waugh has talked down Wade's prospects for making a return to the Test team but does believe the Tasmanian should be in the frame for the World Cup.

There are key figures in the Australian set-up that still believe Wade can't be discounted despite getting the cold shoulder all summer.

Peter Handscomb could be getting the thumbs up from Australian selectors. Picture: Getty
Peter Handscomb could be getting the thumbs up from Australian selectors. Picture: Getty

However, the other sneaky option to take the gloves is Handscomb.

The Victorian is currently holding down a middle-order spot in the Australian 50-over team as a specialist batsman, but if Steve Smith recovers from injury in time for the World Cup it's difficult to see Handscomb fitting into the same XI.

Carey is the preferred wicketkeeper for Australian selectors, for both his leadership ability and skill with the gloves.

But after 28 internationals he is yet to make a 50 and Australia desperately need him to prove he can convert in big moments with the bat.

Playing a batsman of Handscomb's class as a keeper has obvious benefits in strengthening the batting line-up.

But Handscomb did miss a run-out chance in the frantic T20 won on the last ball by Australia, with purists still adamant you need a specialist in the position, even in white ball cricket.