Josh Inglis, waiting for possible Ashes call-up, says sports psychologist helped sharpen batting focus

The man who could be Australia’s next Test wicketkeeper, Josh Inglis, has credited his work with a sports psychologist for the improvement that has put him in the mix for selection.

Inglis told reporters on Monday that while he wasn’t sure when selectors would make their call on the first Test line-up — including the identity of the keeper to replace Tim Paine — he expected something to happen “in the next day or two”.

Inglis and the Redbacks’ Alex Carey were both named in an extended players list when the Ashes squad was announced.

Since then, Paine has taken a leave of absence from cricket for personal reasons after his departure from the Australian captaincy.

This leaves a vacancy behind the stumps, with Inglis and Carey in line.

A wicketkeeper stands on one leg as he leans in to whip off the bails while a batsman stands with his bat in the air.
Josh Inglis says he expects to hear from selectors in the next few days whether he or Alex Carey will keep for Australia at the Gabba.(Getty Images: Paul Kane)

“It (last season) was the first really consistent season I’ve had — it’s quite crazy to think how far I’ve come in a short space of time,” he said.

Inglis is happy to acknowledge that his time with a sports psychologist has been very beneficial, and helped put him in line for a possible Test debut at the Gabba.

“I’ve done a lot of work with the psychologist (Cricket Australia’s Matt Burgin) and (batting coach) Beau Casson,” he said.

Inglis said he had been making starts and the odd 50 but not going on with it, before working to sharpen his focus while batting. 

“I just really narrowed down my focus and my routines…my goal was to face more balls, prolonging my innings and scoring a few hundreds.

A batsman stands on one leg as he hits a lofted shot wide of mid-on.
Josh Inglis has not had much red-ball cricket experience lately, but he says he is happy with his mindset going into an Ashes summer.(Getty Images: Brett Hemmings)


The Western Australian made his first T20 century for Leicestershire in England’s T20 Blast in June.

Inglis has not had much red-ball cricket recently — he spent a month with Australia’s winning T20 World Cup squad in the UAE, wrapping up a fortnight ago, without cracking the team, but he has still maintained his mental discipline even in quarantine.

“That’s the beauty of it. I can replicate what I’m doing in training and in games,” Inglis said.

“It’s not something that just comes out during a Shield game or an A game or whatever.

Carey has had a number of Sheffield Shield matches for South Australia, taking a number of catches but with a string of scores of less than 10, before making 101 in the domestic One-Day Cup against Queensland.

The last chance to influence selectors’ thinking — a three-day internal match at Redlands from Wednesday — could well fall victim to Queensland’s run of wet weather, given predictions of up to 70mm of rainfall on Tuesday ahead of the game.

‘KP’ was Inglis’ idol growing up 

Born in Leeds, the 26-year-old Inglis came to Australia as a teenager.

His first Ashes memories are of staying up late or getting up early in the morning British time with his dad to watch the 2001 series, and seeing “JL and Haydos (Matthew Hayden)” batting, the latter making a big hundred.

Now, it maybe that within days JL — Justin Langer — may be coaching him in an Ashes series.

An English batsman plays a full-blooded cut shot as an Australian wicketkeeper watches from behind the stumps.
As a young man in England Josh Inglis was a fan of Kevin Pietersen’s aggressive batting and willingness to take the game on.(Getty Images: Mike Hewitt)

“Ever since then, Ashes series have been huge, it’s probably the pinnacle of the sport and every series there are so many big moments,” he said.

He acknowledged that as a kid he had supported England, but that had changed once he got into the Australian cricket state system.    

Asked to name his cricketing idols when growing up in Britain, the hard-hitting batsmen pointed to a kindred spirit in the English line-up.

“To watch KP (Kevin Pietersen) bat — the flair he played with, how aggressive he was, the way he took the game on in red and white ball cricket, he was the one (I looked to),” Inglis said.

He says his Australian teammates haven’t been going too hard on him and his background, but he acknowledges his family may be slightly conflicted if he gets picked for Australia.

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