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.
- Western Australian wicketkeeper Josh Inglis says he expects to be just days away from learning if he will be making his Test debut in the Ashes
- Inglis and Alex Carey are the two main cricketers in contention to replace Tim Paine for the first Test at the Gabba
- Inglis came to Australia when he was 14 — he says Kevin Pietersen was his cricketing idol when he was growing up in England
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.
“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.
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.
“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.