Australia A v England XI, Tour match, Hobart November 6, 2013

Warne was my saviour - Carberry

Michael Carberry delivered the big hundred of which Shane Warne said he was capable - and then credited Warne with rescuing his county career

Shane Warne's recognition of a young Michael Carberry's talents at Hampshire was the making of him as a first-class batsman. Now Warne's endorsement at the start of the Ashes tour seems to have helped blow the winds of cricketing fortune in Carberry's direction as he emerges as the apparent answer to the dual England batting problems of the last series against Australia.

Amid countless quotable lines about Ricky Ponting, Alastair Cook and George Bailey, among others, Warne had posited the view that Carberry stood a far better chance of ensuring solid openings for England's batting on the tour than the younger right-hander Joe Root. While Warne's emotive use of "crucifying" to outline the risk of keeping Root at the top grabbed most of the initial attention, his supportive words about Carberry seem to have mirrored the thinking of the team director Andy Flower.

Retained to open alongside Cook in Hobart while Root was shuffled down to No. 5, Carberry set about his task grandly, and by the close of play had all but guaranteed his Brisbane berth by batting all day in the company of his captain. This allows Root to avoid the perils of the new ball and also bolster a middle order that stumbled at times in the earlier Ashes meeting.

Carberry credits Warne with giving him the early impetus to find himself as a county batsman after frustrating stints at Kent and Surrey. "Shane Warne is basically the reason why I got a chance to play Test cricket," he said. "I was a young guy who was a little bit lost in county cricket, didn't really get an opportunity. I came to Hampshire and from day one he made me feel very much at home. He gave me the backing I think any young player needs and allowed me to play a brand of cricket I wanted to play.

"He was very influential in me doing what I've done and getting the chance to play for England a few years on. The times I've caught up with him, he has always had very kind things to say about my game, I still keep in contact with him, even though he might be overseas. He's always been a great friend to me."

That friendship helped Carberry through a career not lacking in difficulty, most notably when a blood clot on the lung ruled him out of the game for an extended period in 2010, soon after he had made his Test debut alongside Cook in Bangladesh. The ailment not only kept Carberry out of contention for the 2010-11 Ashes tour but threatened his entire career. He emerged from it stronger, wiser and with a balanced outlook.

"It's been well documented that I have had some tough times off the field, but by the grace of God I'm here to enjoy what I'm doing now," he said. "When things like that happen it gives you perspective on your cricket, maybe to relax more and try to enjoy the game for what it is, rather than as young players perhaps putting pressure on yourself to try and get where you want to get to. If you do the processes right you'll get there.

"I came here with pretty much a blank canvas. I try to be flexible, to do whatever job is put in front of me for the team. If it's to be opening great, if it's to bat down the order even better. Nothing much was explained to me, I was just told 'Carbs you're going in with Cooky' and that was good enough for me. I set my mind as any opener does to see off the new ball, which was going to be the biggest threat on that wicket, and then try to bat through the day."

Aiding Carberry this day was an indifferent display by Australia A's bowlers, who tended to drop too short especially with the new ball. The wicketkeeper Tim Paine admitted as much after play, pointing out that a better attack might have been able to test Carberry more fully in the gully region, where he offered numerous edges as it was.

"We thought we were probably half a sniff around that gully region if we bowled the right length to him," Paine said. "We just couldn't get one to go to hand today, but he's obviously a class player. He is opening the batting for England and they're a very good side. If he does play in the Ashes he'll be hard to get out, but there is an area there definitely: if you stack up your gully region I think at some point you'll get a chance."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Clifford on November 7, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    Yeah sure Carbs is batting well and could very do well for England in the upcoming series but at 33 does anyone think he'll do a Matty Hayden and have a great test career in his 30s? Or is Joe Root the future opener? If Root is the opener of the future he should get 15 tests to prove himself while he's surrounded by Cook, KP and Trott rather than chopping and changing. For an object lesson in how not to find an opening pair see the West Indies...

  • Dummy4 on November 7, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    Warney is spot on about Carberry opening in the upcoming series, he would be a much safer bet than a shaky Joe Root. A mature and solid opener is what England need more 30 for 3's please.

  • Paul on November 7, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    You didn't have to be a rocket surgeon to notice in the last Ashes that Root has virtually no footwork, especially early on.

    He plays almost entirely from the crease. Brisbane, Perth etc. would have been a nightmare for him against the new ball. A brief nightmare, but a nightmare all the same.

  • Dummy4 on November 7, 2013, 2:43 GMT

    @Mitty2, Warney would have made a terrible captain of the great Aussie team- he is excellent to young players, but he does not have the personality or capacity to handle a group of extremely talented cricketers that Ponting managed. Warne's comments about Ponting were completely unfair, he was an excellent manager of men and was highly respected. Unlike Clarke and Warne.

  • Simon on November 7, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    I'd rate Warne as the best player of all in my watching lifetime (from the early nineties), but since he's retired my respect for him has nosedived, as I've found his attention seeking, crass . Frankly (this Ponting stuff is a perfect example).

    These are strong words from Carberry, though, and they remind me that there are a hell of a lot of those who've met him who won't hear a word said against him, and more than a few who seem to real he's had a significant positive impact on their lives (not necessarily merely their careers). I really want to just straight-out dislike him, and I was getting there, but it's hard... :)

  • Majid on November 6, 2013, 23:47 GMT

    I reckon Shane Warne should be coach of Australia. I mean he coaches from the commentary box as it is and with him being in the dressing room he will inspire some of the current team to do better.

  • vishav on November 6, 2013, 23:34 GMT

    This guy should be givev credit, all the pressur was on him to perform today, everyone was watching, and it his chance to open or not be in the side. Imagine the pressure on the lad. Despite that, he's still scored an unbeaten 150. Root should probably be at 5 or 6, as he;s not a naturally opener, as Carberry played most of his carrer as an opener.

  • Dayne on November 6, 2013, 22:49 GMT

    Warne's crystal ball works wonders again - thanks a LOT Warney, another Englishman who will thump us into submission this series.

    That said, Root is not a test opener and I'd say Flower would have addressed that long before (behind closed doors).

    Horrific bowling by Aus A - I'd love to say it was all a plan, false sense of security and all that lot, but it really isn't. Warne did so against Graeme Hick in the mid-90's, in the warm-up game, but we don't have anyone near that class.

    Worrying signs now, Australia must pray for injury as, once you scratch out 1 or 2 of this English lineup that which comes next is very, very wonky.

    Congratulations to Carberry and Cook, both scored at good rates and were ultimately rock-like.

    Cook is still a very average, defensive captain, but this is a bad sign given just how good he was as a batsman last time around.

    'Tough times are a coming' reads the inevitable headline.

  • Chuck on November 6, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    No doubt Warnie is very popular in England, especially Hampshire. If Carberry as an opener, and Root as No 6 go on to have a great series in retaining the Ashes he'll be even more popular but probably a lot less popular in Oz ! I doubt Glenn McGrath (5-0 Oz) will send him a thank you note. Hilarious...

  • Dummy4 on November 6, 2013, 22:36 GMT

    Warne has only stated an opinion and that is what he gets paid handsomely to do. Thousands and Thousands of England fans agree Root is best suited down the order. Root struggled opening in the last ashes and a mediocre Australia had England in trouble on a number of occasions. A better team would have went on to punish the the poor starts England had and could have easily won the series. Johnny Bairstow did not look comfortable at any time in the last series. That said Root at 6 and Carberry openinging is the most logical option and with Trott looking to have sorted out his troubles and Bell still on fire and KP to come it looks as if it is going to be a miserable summer for Australia. Don't forget they have to take 20 wickets in a match three times to win the series. I for one can't see that happening.

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