Australia v India, 1st T20, Sydney January 30, 2012

Captain Bailey defends his T20 record


George Bailey has conceded he will only win respect as Australia's new Twenty20 captain if he scores runs himself, regardless of how the side performs. Bailey's highest score in the shortest format is 60 and he has made only one T20 half-century in the past three seasons, but he said batting at No.5 opportunities were often limited and his record "stands up against anyone".

Bailey will make his T20 international debut on Wednesday against India in Sydney, and he will do it as captain after Australia's selectors axed Cameron White from the T20 leadership. A successful state captain with Tasmania, Bailey, 29, is seen by John Inverarity's panel as the man who has the best chance of steering Australia to success in the ICC World Twenty20 in September.

However, he will need to ensure he doesn't succumb to the same fate as Michael Clarke, who was viewed as a tactically shrewd T20 captain but whose own batting skills were not suited to the game. Bailey is a more powerful striker than Clarke and has a T20 strike-rate of 132, but it remains to be seen whether he can turn himself from a good domestic batsman into an international one.

"You are captain but first and foremost you're in there to perform," Bailey told ESPNcricinfo. "That dictates a hell of a lot of the respect that you have. Part of my performance will be my captaincy but the majority of it will be with the bat. I have to perform. I certainly would have liked a few more runs in the Big Bash but since Twenty20 started being played I certainly think my record stands up against anyone, particularly for someone who has batted for the majority in that middle order."

Bailey scored 114 runs at an average of 19 for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League, where he was captained by White, the man he has succeeded as national skipper. But as a man who often bats in the lower middle order, Bailey believes his average is less relevant than it would be in one-day or first-class cricket, because his opportunities are fewer.

He is part of a squad that Australia's selectors hope can form the core of the side that will challenge for the World T20 title in Sri Lanka later this year, and Inverarity has spoken of the importance of building a group that works well together. Bailey echoed those thoughts and said it was vital the squad was well-balanced.

"I think there are a lot of facets of Twenty20 cricket that we're still working out how we measure whether someone has been successful," Bailey said. "Part of naming a squad and starting to work out who's going to fit into the jigsaw puzzle of September is exactly that, what will be a group that harmonises well together.

"You could pick the top six or seven run scorers from the Big Bash and the top five leading wicket takers, but in terms of getting a team together it's about melding all those skills of being able to score quickly and being able to score consistently, keeping runs down and taking wickets and putting all of those things together into a team.

"We're getting closer and closer and we have more data on T20 cricket but certainly batting in the middle order it's always going to be a challenge, compared to a Test cricketer where you get to the end of your career and you say well you averaged this and it gives you some indication. I think in T20 you look at whether people are contributing in partnerships, or what stage they come in, or when they hit their boundaries and their sixes, to be an effective cricketer."

Some Australian fans might judge whether Bailey is an effective cricket based on his first two T20 outings this week, if they have not already seen him play. While the pressure of performing as the national captain cannot completely be avoided, Bailey is confident that he shut out any such distractions against India on Wednesday and Friday.

"It's not something I'll be feeling in the group," he said. "Cricketers are aware that we play in a performance-based game and the pressure sometimes of what other people are thinking, that's often built up in the media. Once you're out there performing, you're just out there doing your job to the best of your ability."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • pradave17 on February 2, 2012, 13:49 GMT

    Aussie had not stars for the game. But they have specialists. The specialists made their game. India is still maintaining so called stars. So, they are just ruins of a past legend. This stars play for their own records. Not for the country or the team. Thats why India loses and Assie wins.

  • zenboomerang on January 31, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    Laughing at all the comments about Baileys stats & not captain material... In 20/20 most of the big scores are by the top 3 batters who get the time & overs to build up a score... Coming in at no.5 rarely gives you a chance - either the top order guys have made the runs or a collapse has occurred & run rates blow out... Batting at 5,6,7 is the hardest spot in the team... As captain of Tas he has out-performed all other States with his limited resources & level headed smart captaining skills... Something much talked about in Clarkes captaincy in Tests - how you use your players to the teams best advantage...

  • oracle199 on January 31, 2012, 6:45 GMT

    Interesting stat.....India won it's first two T20's against Australia and haven't won one since. And that was against an Aussie outfit made up primarily of Test and ODI players. India do have a strong T20 line-up so curious to see how they go against a specialist Aust T20 outfit. But I digress, a shame the Indian selectors didn't give more of it's young players a bit of time in Aussie conditions during the Tests once all was lost at 3-0....surely it would have been prudent to give Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina an opportunity in Adelaide. Consequently, when these guys inevitablty travel to Oz for Test Series in the future, they still won't know what they're up against....perhaps until it's too late.

  • satish619chandar on January 31, 2012, 6:14 GMT

    @Naren : If seniors might not like to play under Warner, how can they play under Bailey?

  • class9ryan on January 31, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    Wow, we r heading towards a new era of cricket where there r - specialist T20 bowlers , specialist Wicketkeeper-Batsman ,specialist all rounder, specialist finisher,specialist depth bowler,a specialist bizzare opener and the d most better ' a specialist CAPTAIN '. GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • class9ryan on January 31, 2012, 5:25 GMT

    His record is fine. U can't except someone to have a average of 100 in T20 that too coming at no.5 where there's hardly 6 overs left 2 play !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well 2 be casual Dhoni and Bailey r team mates in the IPL for d Chennai Super Kings.

  • bobagorof on January 30, 2012, 22:29 GMT

    pradeeplasantha: hahaha, nice try. Steven Smith's Twenty20 batting record is pathetic. He averages under 20 at a strike rate of 114, and it's even worse at international level. His bowling record is better, but he didn't even bowl a single over in Australia's last Twenty20 series. Steve O'Keefe and David Hussey were used as the spinners. Until Smith decides whether he's a batsman, bowler or all-rounder he should be left alone to work out his game, not being thrust into the Australian captaincy.

  • dummy4fb on January 30, 2012, 21:04 GMT

    Baily bold decision by board and it will burn the burner in Australian banks.

  • sashi94 on January 30, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    Where do they find these arrogant cricketers? The guy says, His record stands against anyones.. and his average is a platry 19. One half century in the past two years..I wonder what Bradman is thinking right now! all that work in test cricket and I became a legend.. and this guy averages 1/5th and hes a t20 hero? The worst part is.. hes been selected to be a Captain! nice joke!

  • dummy4fb on January 30, 2012, 16:59 GMT

    Read his 20/20 stats and still not sure what hes doing anywhere near the Aussie team !

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