Cricket ODI World Cup 2023: Alex Carey rattled, ‘not the same since Jonny Bairstow run out’, theory behind form slump

Alex Carey’s place in Australia’s ODI World Cup side is under pressure, with suggestions his form slump is linked to the fallout from the Jonny Bairstow dismissal during the Ashes.

Carey was out for a duck in Australia’s six-wicket loss to India in their World Cup opener, and he hasn’t reached 20 in seven of his last eight innings.

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In that game, Mitch Marsh dropped a catch that probably should have been taken by the wicketkeeper. It was a missed chance off Virat Kohli that that cost Australia virtually any hope of victory.

In his last 10 matches, Carey has only passed 30 with the bat once — a 99 against South Africa.

He was in career-best form earlier this year, making solid contributions with the bat and doing a superb job with the gloves behind the stumps in Test cricket.

The 32-year-old’s controversial run out of Bairstow in the second Ashes Test divided opinion and the wicketkeeper and his family were subject to attacks on social media afterwards.

There are now suggestions Carey has been “rattled” by the aftermath of the Bairstow dismissal, which may have contributed to his form slump.

Veteran cricket journalist Robert Craddock said on Fox Sports’ The Back Page: “There’s a theory out there … the Jonny Bairstow run out in England, before that he was in the form of his life.

“And from that point he’s faded. His family has been under attack. When he retires, on that last day, I’d love to take him aside and just say to him this: ‘Alex, do you regret the Bairstow thing? Was it really worth it?’

“And I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t say ‘Actually, I wish I hadn’t done it’.”

Craddock added: “I still maintain that dismissal was not worth the hassle that followed it.”

Former Australian Test captain Tim Paine also believes Carey seems “rattled” by the Bairstow incident.

“We know how dangerous Alex can be. I don’t think he’s looked the same since the Jonny Bairstow stumping,” Paine said on SEN.

“Whether that’s had an effect on him mentally – he copped an absolute barrel over there from everyone, I know it was a really difficult time for him and his family, he couldn’t go out for a coffee without copping abuse.

“I don’t know if it’s rattled him or if his confidence has dropped off since, but certainly his batting – he hasn’t looked the same … His body language and his intent, his intent to go out and take the game on from the start.”

Carey told recently he was desperate to win a World Cup for Australia and join many of his star teammates who have already lifted the 2015 ODI and 2021 T20 World Cup trophies.

Josh Inglis is in Australia’s 15-man squad as back up to Carey and there is growing debate over who should be Australia’s wicketkeeper going forward at the World Cup.

“I like Carey and I just reckon he’s hit a bit of a flat spot,” Craddock added.

“But I’m surprised how close the equation’s getting. There’s a lot of people over in India saying they’re giving consideration to Inglis, where I thought he was way No. 2.

“I’ve still got Alex in there. He’s a good player. He might come out on Thursday and make 60 or 70, but there’s no question he was rattled by it.”

Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell disagreed with the theory around Carey’s form slump.

“I think there’s been enough water under the bridge since then,” Maxwell said.

“He seems to be batting really well in the nets from what I saw until probably I ran him out in that practice game.

“He seems in really good spirits and he’s keeping really well … The other night he just got his bat caught behind on his pad which can happen sometimes.

“I feel like every batter has made that mistake, where you’re trying to get forward and just clip your pad and it deflects it a little bit.”

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