Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
Despite a relatively lean Sheffield Shield season Alex Carey feels he is well placed should he get the nod to be Australia's wicketkeeper in the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba.
Thirty-year-old Carey, who plays for South Australia, is the frontrunner to fill Tim Paine's position ahead of the highly-regarded Josh Inglis but insisted he has yet to be given the nudge from the selectors.
Inglis, along with fellow Western Australia team-mates Mitchell Marsh and Ashton Agar, flew back to Perth on Tuesday for a pre-planned few days back home and will rejoin the squad after a short break but it has been taken as an indication of the way the selectors will fall.
Carey has made just 153 runs in eight Sheffield Shield innings this season - with single-figure scores in his last five outings - but did crack a century in the Marsh Cup before heading to Brisbane. Due to his place in the T20 World Cup squad Inglis, who shot into contention after a superb 2020-21 domestic season, has only played one first-class match this summer.
"I've felt in a really good place," Carey told RSN radio. "I feel like I'm hitting the ball well and although the runs didn't come as I would have liked in the first part of the Sheffield Shield season I think consistently over the last couple of years I've been pretty solid.
"It wasn't a case which end do I hold the bat, still felt like I knew what I was doing, and to get some runs in that one-day game is great. Nice to know what I was doing is still the right thing.
"I've done what I can so I'll sit back and hope for the best."
Carey is also encouraged by the philosophy of the current selection panel - headed by George Bailey - that they are not swayed by a small sample of recent results and look at a larger picture.
"Cricket's a game where if you miss out in one game you are judged on that and you feel like everything is coming down on you but it takes one innings to turn that around and you are in great form again," he said. "Justin [Langer] and George have played so many games and they know what it's like and they've put a lot of trust and open communication with the players."
Overall Carey averages 34.73 in first-class cricket with five centuries. He was due to be the reserve wicketkeeper on the postponed Test tour of South Africa earlier this year and last season took the gloves for Australia A.
Other selection calls Australia need to make ahead of the opening Test are between Mitchell Starc and Jhye Richardson - with Starc expected to retain his place - and which of Travis Head and Usman Khawaja bats at No. 5.
Australia's intrasquad match which was due to start on Wednesday has been canceled due to the continued wet weather in Brisbane with players hoping to get some centre-wicket time if the rain clears over the next couple of days.