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Sydney — Josh Inglis may have been born and raised to the age of 14 in England but the 26-year-old says there will be no split loyalties if he gets the chance to keep wicket for Australia in the upcoming Ashes series.
The fallout from the bombshell resignation of captain Tim Paine has left the hosts without a specialist wicketkeeper in the squad just over a week from the start of the series.
The more experienced Alex Carey is also in the frame and Inglis will find out over the next couple of days whether he will be making his Test debut in Brisbane on December 8 against the team he used to support.
“As a kid growing up in England, I obviously supported England but that’s all changed now moving to Australia,” Inglis told reporters on Monday.
“Once you start building your way up in professional cricket, it’s quite hard trying to play for a team and not supporting them. That changed pretty quickly.”
Inglis has a first-class average of 34.03 in 45 matches but has not played any red-ball cricket since September after being included in Australia’s squad for the Twenty20 World Cup.
He failed to get on the field at the World Cup so his candidature to replace Paine will be backed by his three centuries for Western Australia last season as well as in training for next week’s “A” match against England Lions.
“My focus is really clear. I’m either going to be playing an ‘A’ game or a Test match next week,” he added.
“My focus is really clear on my red ball prep … I’m really happy with where my game is at the moment. I’m ready to go.”
While Carey, also uncapped but a veteran of 83 short-format internationals, pressed his case with a one-day century for South Australia at the weekend, Inglis has had the likes of Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne talking him up.
“You don’t want to read too much into it because, at the end of the day, they are not the guys making the decision,” Inglis said.
“But for them to say some really nice things about me is nice to hear.”
• England’s Ben Stokes feared it “might be the end” after he almost choked on a tablet while alone in his hotel room ahead of the Ashes.
The all-rounder, writing in a column for the Daily Mirror, said the tablet had gone down the wrong way and got stuck in his windpipe.
“Until it actually came out, I thought this might be the end,” he said. “I was on my own in my room and I couldn’t breathe as it became lodged and started to dissolve. It felt like my mouth was on fire.
“Without going into too much detail, I have never seen as much saliva as I did on Sunday morning, it was a genuinely frightening experience.”
Stokes took an indefinite break from cricket in July to focus on his mental health while also recovering from a second operation on a broken finger, and was a late addition to England’s squad for the tour of Australia.
The 30-year-old said the finger injury was coming along really well and that he was in a good place mentally.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.