George Bailey: An answer to Australia’s batting woes?

Author : Kaushik Narayanan

England v Australia: 5th Natwest One Day International Series

Team Australia is definitely in a mess.

The very fact that they have lost the last three consecutive ashes series shows their state of cricket. With all the batting and bowling legends retired, this young Australian team is taking forever to rebuild itself. Though Clarke’s leadership skills is not to be doubted, even he finds himself in a soup, after winning just one test this entire year, that too on home soil.

The team is extremely talented, without doubt. But the main problem lies with the selection committee. Shuffling players each and every match will do no good for the team. Nevertheless, among a few of the good decisions, persisting with Bailey from the start has definitely payed of.

George Bailey came into limelight after being made the captain of the T20 team on his debut. For the record, it is the first time an Austalian is being made captain on his debut, since the very first test match itself. Actually, for those who knew the Australian domestic cricket top-to-bottom, this decision is not as surprising it seems.

He was a domestic heavy weight, just like our very own Amol Muzumdar. While the likes of Symonds and Hussey were tormenting the international bowlers, here he was the batting mainstay of the the Tasmanian cricket team. Coming into the team as replacement for injured players, he showed his talent in the very first season, wherein he scored 774 runs.

The Australian cricket board made a mistake in the mid 2000′s. That is not to build a replacement team for their ageing batting order. And this was the very reason Bailey did not get even a single chance to play until the previous year. After impressing the selectors( or rather, the selectors without any other option), they fastracted him to the Australian team, thanks to a continued string of good performances in domestic cricket and also in IPL for CSK.

Among a team of reckless big hitters, George Bailey was required to stabilize things. He could be defensive and aggressive according to his wish, and thanks to that, he cemented his place in the ODI and T20 playing eleven, over more talented but highly inconsistent players like David Warner.

His consistency has been the highlight of his budding career. He has been the go-to man in the times of crisis, as far as ODI is concerned. His consistency has earned him the place of vice captain, and as a second choice captain for the Australian ODI team.

I still wonder as to why is he yet to play a Test match. He could fill the gap of Mike Hussey, who’s abscence is definitely being felt. Being consistent like Hussey himself, Australia might be able to find a stable No.5 in him.

His career might be well short of others, thanks to a very late debut. But he has proved yet and again that he belongs to the international arena. Even his captaincy has been good, with the current series against India being a good example. I guess he could be the answer for the Australia’s middle order woes in test cricket.



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