PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 08: Josh Inglis of Western Australia takes a return throw during the Marsh One Day Cup match between Western Australia and Tasmania at the WACA on April 08, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

In the wake of Tim Paine taking a break from all forms of cricket, talk has now turned to who will replace him behind the stumps. The debate was already well underway, given Paine is 36 and nearing the end of his career.

The bombshell news has accelerated those discussions and Cricket Australia now faces a tough choice, with no clear standout having emerged in the past 18 months to claim his spot as Australia's premier wicketkeeper. 

With Pat Cummins announced as the new Test Captain, Australia will start the Ashes both with a new skipper and gloveman.

With so much on the line, the pressure is on Cricket Australia to get it right.

We assess the top candidates to fill the vacancy.


1. Alex Carey

The frontrunner for the position, Carey has had strong support for a while now. An accomplished batsman and gloveman, his leadership qualities are what separates him from the others.

The question marks remain about his ability to keep up to spin, and to bat with the lower order. As an aggressive batsman, Carey may have to prove he can dig in with the tail.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 07: Alex Carey of the SA Redbacks bats during day three of the Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and New South Wales at Adelaide Oval on December 7, 2016 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images)

On top of that, with Nathan Lyon so valuable as a spin option on Australian soil, Carey would need to get his confidence up ahead of this Ashes series. His form is also a big question mark.

He's failed to make a score in the double digits in any of his last six outings at Shield level. Despite all that, he remains the favourite.