Australia v India 2011-12 January 23, 2012

Bailey named Australia's T20 captain, Hogg recalled


Cameron White has been dumped as Australia's Twenty20 captain and replaced by George Bailey for the two matches against India next week. And Australia's selectors have announced the surprise recall of the 40-year-old spinner Brad Hogg, who made a T20 comeback this summer and has been the standout slow bowler in the Big Bash League

In a major shake-up eight months before the ICC World Twenty20, the new selection panel under John Inverarity has sent a clear message that the T20 side needed refreshment. Australia made the final of the 2010 World T20, but since then they have lost seven matches and won only two, and sit fifth on the ICC rankings behind England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

The appointment of White as captain when Michael Clarke retired from the format last January was made by Andrew Hilditch's selection panel with a view to building towards this year's World T20, to be held in Sri Lanka in September. However, White made just 55 runs at an average of 7.85 in the BBL this season and Inverarity's panel has made the change with at least four matches on Australia's schedule before the World T20.

Bailey, the captain of Tasmania and a team-mate of White at the Melbourne Stars, has not been in outstanding form either, having scored 114 runs at 19. However, he was viewed by the selectors as the right man to lead the side, with David Warner his vice-captain, while the Test vice-captain Shane Watson was not considered for the two games against India due to his ongoing injury problems.

"The Australian T20 team has been ranked a rather disappointing sixth in the world and we've certainly considered that the team needs refreshment," Inverarity said in announcing the squad in Melbourne on Monday. "It would be fair to say the national selection panel has been discussing this T20 squad for six or seven weeks.

"If you look at [Bailey's] record as captain ... I'm of the view that Tasmania have done particularly well in recent years because of the leadership they've had, the well-defined leadership of Daniel Marsh and ... then George has taken over. Last season they won the Shield under George, the year before they won the one-day competition under George. The results are there.

"He's widely respected throughout Australia. Those who play with him regard him very highly as a captain and as a leader. We've seen from Michael Clarke's leadership, he has done very well not least because of his astute decision making on the field and George certainly has that too."

The decision means Bailey, 29, will play his first match for Australia in any format next week, and he will do it as captain. Bailey has been part of an Australian squad in the past - he was called up for the ODIs in New Zealand in early 2010 when Clarke returned home for personal reasons - but did not win a cap.

"It has [come out of the blue] in some ways but it's something I feel like I'm ready to do and I'm very excited by," Bailey said. "I think once you have been captain and played in the team for a little while, any time you're on the field you're always thinking. I haven't captained during this Big Bash but even so I've always been thinking about what I'd be doing in similar circumstances, who I'd be bowling and field placements and things like that. I don't think that part of you ever goes away."

When he walks out as leader for the T20 at Sydney's Stadium Australia next Wednesday and the match at the MCG two days later, Bailey will be in charge of a new-look side. The fast-bowling allrounder James Faulkner will be in line for his debut, while the batsman Travis Birt has earned a recall nearly two years after his last international appearance.

But the big talking point, besides the captaincy, was the recall of Hogg, whose left-arm wrist-spin has been a major reason the Perth Scorchers have made the BBL final. Hogg retired from all cricket four years ago but made his T20 comeback this summer, and Inverarity said if all went well, Hogg would be part of Australia's squad at the World T20 in spinning conditions in Sri Lanka this year.

"In my conversation with Brad it was that it would be the World Cup and that if he was selected our interest with him wouldn't go beyond that," Inverarity said. "Of course it could change. But that's the general intention ... Two months ago we probably weren't thinking about Brad Hogg. [BBL] games have changed when he's come on to bowl. He has been outstanding."

The inclusion of Hogg meant there was no room for Steven Smith or Steve O'Keefe, two slow bowlers who had been part of the T20 side in recent months. Xavier Doherty was the other specialist spinner named to take on India. Brett Lee, Clint McKay and Daniel Christian will round out the attack, while Matthew Wade was not surprisingly named as the wicketkeeper.

Michael Hussey was not named in the squad but Inverarity clarified that his exclusion was a workload issue. Hussey almost singlehandedly blasted Australia into the final of the World T20 in 2010 with a brilliant innings in the semi-final, and although he has not played a T20 international in a year and a half, he is expected to be part of the squad when Australia play two matches in the Caribbean in late March.

"Mike is being rested for this," Inverarity said. "Mike has had a pretty gruelling schedule of Test matches - Sri Lanka, South Africa, New Zealand and India. I had a chat to Mike in Perth about a week ago and we're looking to give him a little bit of a break here, and probably in the early stages of the ODIs so he comes out fresh. We're also keen to try some of these younger players. But at this stage there'd be no doubt that Mike Hussey would be playing in the T20s in the West Indies."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anupam on January 26, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    add HOGG in the test side too.he will bowl far far better than the world's best spinner LYON.

  • richard on January 25, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    Other than Warner, please leave the test team alone, Starc should be classified as a test player. (if you play it they will still come).

  • Khawaja on January 25, 2012, 2:41 GMT

    coulter nile, hodge and okeefe seem tobe the popular non inclusions while it seems odd to play old timers under a middle aged captain who is not regarded as an automatic selection...a younger spinner would be preferable even though Hogg could probably bat...while doherty bowls well at times.. i have only seen one brilliant performance yet...i would think that Lee could have been replaced by tait either/or...Wade is probably a better keeper/batter as haddin makes very obvious mistakes...that is teh time for a keeper to hangup his gloves...seems the selection is a middle aged captain, some old bowlers and younger more attacking(supposedly) batsmen...with oldish players u would have two peopel who can only be stationed at teh boundary

  • Dummy4 on January 24, 2012, 22:32 GMT

    guys, obviously hussey and the bowlers weren't picked because the test match finishes just days before the t20. I actually like this new man management and it will help the test players recover and then be able to resume when ready. I think inverarity also has the world t20 in mind, so he is mixing and matching to see what he can come up with for the right squad. As for george Bailey being captain, he is very astute and thus is a very good choice as captain by Inverarity. The only trouble with this is, where will he bat, as he is not in the best of form.. As for people demanding warner to be captain, this is his first full international season really, where he has broken into the test side, and the t20 captaincy would be too much for him right now. vice captaincy will help him adjust. Hogg i beleive is a good selsction, but i would still have O Keefe around because if Lyon doesn't do well in the Adelaide test, then O'Keefe could press for selection for the windies. now i feel good :)

  • Anupam on January 24, 2012, 19:10 GMT

    after warne mcgill & hogg are the world class spinners Oz produced. but 1 thing i want from all the team is that make a complete seperate team for T20. T20 ruins the cricketers like tait & lee they are only for T20 not for test & odi. it also affects the fitness of cricketers. warner, baily, hodge, birt, d.hussey, thornely,m.marsh,hogg, mckay, lee,tait.

  • Oliver on January 24, 2012, 18:24 GMT

    Hogg is just the beginning! Cummon Hados, Warney - get the old unit back together and show how a real T20 outfit could play! My team in order = Warner, Haydos, Wade, D Hussey, Christian, M Hussey, M Marsh, Faulkner, Hogg, Lee Coach/Capt: Warne. They'd keep the pain coming for 20 overs as a batting unit, some good spin variations (Huss/Hogg/Warne), some mediums from Marsh and Christian, and Lee and Faulkner to open/close. All have been playing recently and the old fellas are showing they can still do it. Warne is the best capt option around... forget White/Bailey. This team could still mentor the young guys, just as the oldies in the test team are doing.

  • Dummy4 on January 24, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    i dont think its a good squad but dont know i dint follow BBL match by match player by player but what do australia want to say by having two 40 year old in their t20 squad really bizarre but surely they are targetting world t20 so they see them going till there lets see i think india should be able to beat them but aus confidence after test will be sky high and our confidence after test will be as low as possible this is new team lets see how it does but does it make any sense for a debutant bailey a non proven player to be captain of players like lee hussey shaun marsh david warner brad hogg and is it a risk worth just 4 matches before WT20 time will tell

  • Dummy4 on January 24, 2012, 11:57 GMT

    How can you you say o'keefe is the best spinner in Australia if he was he would have bowled more than 1 over in the big bash semi final And he has just been injured so why recall a player that has played 2 t20 since injury It would be stupid recalling him And also ferguson could. NOt even get a game for the stikers so why would he be in the best 11 t20 team

  • ADEEL on January 24, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    Brett lee is the most senior plyr of present team ,,,he should be caption...howevr very good decisn of seletr recalling bred hogg,,,and team is godd...i hope Australia will win the T2o Series

  • Dummy4 on January 24, 2012, 11:05 GMT

    The appointment of a new captain shows a good sign...... But WATSON and WARNER deserve it more than BAILEY!!!!!!!!!

    The inclusion of HOGG shows two weaknesses: i) No spinner has secured his place in the AUSSIE team since post-WARNE ii) The T20I side seriously lacks experience......

    So maybe even Mike Hussey could be considered as Interim Captain........

    We will have to wait and see who leads them in T20I World Cup later this year!!!!!!

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