To make the achievement even sweeter, it appears likely that Carey will stand beside fellow South Australian Travis Head as the national anthem sails through the morning air on Wednesday.
When Carey accepts his baggy green cap on the Gabba surface next week, he will become the 50th South Australian bestowed the honour, a particularly special moment given it comes in SACA’s 150th year.
Coming in the final month of a remarkable calendar year for the thrilling left-handed batsman, Carey will make his Test debut on the game’s biggest stage, the opening clash of an historic Ashes campaign.
This year alone, the Redbacks vice-captain has made a stunning T20 century at Adelaide Oval in Strikers colours, been selected in the postponed tour of South Africa, travelled to the West Indies where he became Australia’s 26th One-Day International captain, and just three days ago crushed 101 from 93 deliveries in the Marsh One-Day Cup. A proven performer when it matters most, Carey has taken the field in 43 ODI’s for Australia, with his highest score of 106 coming in September 2020 when he and Glenn Maxwell guided the nation to a famous victory over England in Manchester.
The faultlessly positive 30-year-old also played a starring role in Australia’s 2019 50-over World Cup charge, scoring 375 runs at an average of 62.50. The most runs by a number seven batter in World Cup history, the performance locked Carey firmly into the official Team of the Tournament alongside the likes of Kane Williamson, Joe Root and Jasprit Bumrah. Able to thrill with bat in hand and truly elite behind the stumps, Carey has also gained plenty of leadership experience throughout his career.
In addition to his time at the helm of the national side in the West Indies, he is the long-serving vice-captain in Redbacks and Strikers clothing, and has captained each side, as well as Australia A, at various times.
Despite this wealth of experience both at home and abroad, Carey is still a young man with limitless potential; something perfectly illustrated by the fact he is just two years older than Adam Gilchrist was when he first took to the Test arena.
Gilchrist would take the opportunity with both glove-laden hands, going on to play 96 Tests in addition to 287 ODI’s in a career that changed the way the game is played.
Similarly, Gilchrist’s replacement, Brad Haddin, was 30 when he first donned the Test attire; a uniform he would proudly wear in 66 Tests while amassing 3266 runs.
While Carey has plenty of experience playing both with and against the current Australian line-up, it looks likely that he will have the extremely familiar presence of Travis Head by his side when he makes his debut, with the fellow South Australian set to play a critical middle-order role in the upcoming Ashes campaign.
Head, the long-serving captain of both the West End Redbacks and Adelaide Strikers, already has 19 Test matches to his name, with an average of 40 and a highest score of 161. Although summer is only just blooming in the official sense, Head already has piles of runs to his name in both the Marsh Sheffield Shield and One-Day Cup, adding to a remarkable tally from last season.
The second-highest run-scorer in the four-day format last year, Head scored 893 runs at an average of 68.69, including a stunning highest score of 223. More recently, Head became the first Australian male to bring up two double hundreds in one-day cricket when he plundered 230 from 127 balls against Queensland at Karen Rolton Oval.
It was a day for the record books in October, with Head’s first 100 coming from just 65 deliveries, a record in South Australian colours. Should both Carey and Head feature in the opening Test of the Ashes series, South Australian eyes will find it hard to not look ahead to the imminent Adelaide Test, scheduled to begin on 16 December.
Redbacks opening batsman Henry Hunt, who has put together a brilliant opening to the Marsh Sheffield Shield season, was also named in the recent Australia A squad, showing there are plenty of positive signs for South Australian cricket in a season that sees a fresh and energetic line-up calling Adelaide home.
The first Vodafone Ashes Test begins at the Gabba on 8 December from 10am local time.