Australia v India, 1st Twenty20, Sydney

Bailey and the chattering classes

George Bailey used smart tactics to lead Australia to a 31-run win, but he will need runs to put his captaincy above question

Daniel Brettig at Stadium Australia

February 1, 2012

Comments: 23 | Text size: A | A

Australia celebrate one of David Hussey's wickets, Australia v India, 1st Twenty20, Stadium Australia, Sydney, February 1, 2012
George Bailey praised David Hussey's performance and said Australia had a good energy in the field © Getty Images

As a departure from Australian cricket's long-held creed of picking the best XI and then the captain, George Bailey is going to take some time to silence his doubters.

Though he presided over a 31-run defeat of India in his first match, promoting Matthew Wade to the opener's post where he struck a pivotal 72 and shuffling his bowlers expertly in the field, Bailey still had to answer a question about why he had batted at No. 5 in the final overs, instead of promoting one of Daniel Christian or Mitchell Marsh, the two heavy-hitters beneath him.

Bailey's response was measured, and reasoned, in keeping with the way he led the side. But it is likely he will need to make a few substantial scores in the job before those murmuring voices of suspicion are silenced.

"It would've been nice to get hold of a couple, but I thought it was really tough to get hold of a couple at the end," Bailey said. "Batting with Dave Hussey, who I've spent quite a lot of time batting with, he's one of the cleanest strikers in the world and he was struggling as well. It's nice to know we've got that depth behind us, [but] it wasn't through lack of trying that we were getting singles.

"I thought Matty's [Wade] batting was outstanding, to have someone who the rest of the team can bat around and have that platform makes it very easy, to have someone keeping wickets in hand for Huss to hit out late in the innings was important. I thought our team effort with the bat and the ball, all our bowlers, was really good and it was a great energy. It's hard to tell when you're on the field but my general feeling was there was great energy from our fielding group as well."

It was Hussey's bowling, as much as his batting with Bailey, that tilted things Australia's way. At 34, he continues to earn his way into Australia's Twenty20 and ODI squads, defying younger domestic performers to dislodge him. Few bowlers in the country, let alone batsmen, could have bowled the snaking off break that rattled the stumps of Rohit Sharma, or fielded with the athleticism and enthusiasm Hussey shares with his older brother Michael.

"As an all-round cricketer in the shorter format, he's outstanding, and you can add his fielding to that as well," Bailey said. "One of the great things about our Twenty20 team - and he sums that up beautifully - is consistency, and that's a really hard thing to get in Twenty20. As we just said about the Indian batting, sometimes it just doesn't work but I think with Huss, the way he performs and the way he prepares, is a great thing to watch and a great thing to have him in your team."

The variety of bowling options at Bailey's disposal was rich, from Brett Lee's searing pace to the left-arm wrist spin of Brad Hogg. As a captain who has prospered in Tasmania with resources never quite as ample, Bailey said he had enjoyed the chance to shuffle so many capable operators.

"The beauty and the hard things about Twenty20 is you can make decisions really late, so I've got a bit of a plan, mainly for the first six [overs] and we see how that goes, after that it's just a feel thing," he said "I thought our spinners bowled really well, so they bowled a majority of the overs through the middle there.

"We've got some outstanding death bowlers in Brett ... Xavier [Doherty] bowled a couple of great overs at the death for us, and we've got James Faulkner up our sleeve, who is a great death bowler too. We've got plenty of options, which makes my job pretty easy."

On match eve, Bailey had spoken of needing to have a plan A, B, C and D to cope with Twenty20's fluctuations. He felt match one had gone according to plan A, leaving greater challenges ahead - both from his opponents, and Australian cricket's chattering classes.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by CricFreax on (February 2, 2012, 13:21 GMT)

the XI for next game should be Gambhir, Sachin (sehwag can be dropped), Virat, Raina,Rohit,MSD,Ashwin, Umesh, Irfan, Praveen, Rahul

Posted by JustIPL on (February 2, 2012, 11:07 GMT)

So many losses prompt to at least reshuffling the batting order. Kohli, Ashwin and Dhoni deserve it up the order. Also I am a big fan of Rahul Sharma, he is attacking and should even have played in tests even. It is matter of time as soon as confusion about bringing in new blood and giving them a good run is removed, india will be competitive again. Dhoni will also get motivated to lead a young side. Yesterday, he pulled it a long way despite so much loss earlier.

Posted by DaRKCreMeTai on (February 2, 2012, 8:15 GMT)

Its difficult to say anything now, If they go to India they'll face defeat in the same way as england did, so win for australia is only temporary, Big fan of Hoggy!

Posted by   on (February 2, 2012, 8:13 GMT)

This is the big difference between the two sides. Even after winning, the Captain of Australian team comes under the scanner, whereas even after so many losses the Indian team is happy to live under the past glory!

Posted by zenboomerang on (February 2, 2012, 6:46 GMT)

Listening to Baileys & Arthurs comment, it seems that McKay & Finch will be subbed into the MCG game... Probably leaving out Faulkner & Birt... Not sure what will happen with S Marsh - maybe miss the series?... Can't seeing him replace David Hussey after Wednesdays game... Would really like to see Mitch moved up to at least no.4 as he performed very well for the Scorchers up the order...

Posted by zenboomerang on (February 2, 2012, 6:38 GMT)

@Daniel Brettig :- "As a departure from Australian cricket's long-held creed of picking the best XI and then the captain, George Bailey is going to take some time to silence his doubters" ... ... The only people doubting Bailey are the fools who know nothing about cricket strategy... Ohh, & your comment about how teams are picked shows your lack of knowledge about cricket :P... Selectors always pick a captain 1st & foremost, then the selectors pick the team around him... Its CA policy that the 3 selectors + captain + coach select the team or haven't you been reading the sports news?...

Posted by   on (February 2, 2012, 4:58 GMT)

seems very confident . the real test of captaincy is longer version of the game

Posted by mjcoxx on (February 2, 2012, 4:13 GMT)

Have to disagree with smudgeon. There should be no doubt about the captain's place in the Australian side. If he's not the best player in the team he should be at least one of the first players picked everytime. Michael Clarke realised he wasn't one of the best XI Twenty20 players in the country so retired to avoid ending up in the situation Cameron White has found himself in. CA obviously have high hopes for Bailey, and good luck to him, but they should only select him for longer forms of the game as his batting doesn't look to be well suited to the shortest format of the game.

Posted by   on (February 2, 2012, 3:47 GMT)

I still think Dan Christian should make way for another fast bowler. On SL pitches you cannot always rely on medium pace bowlers to keep things under control

Posted by nickhendo on (February 2, 2012, 3:30 GMT)

@serious-am-i, Brad Hogg was unplayable ! Hoggy made MS Dhoni look foolish more often than not

I reckon that Bailey should bat at 8 and play as the SPECIALIST captain, batting order should be 1.Warner 2.Wade 3.Birt 4.Hussey 5.Marsh 6.Christian 7.Faulkner 8.Bailey 9.Lee 10.Doherty 11.Hogg

Posted by   on (February 2, 2012, 3:26 GMT)

I was surprised Mitch Marsh did not get a decent hit, nor did he get to bowl a ball. Please give him a decent go George Friday night, I am sure he will do well.

Posted by satanswish on (February 2, 2012, 2:53 GMT)

He is gonna be one of the best captains for Aussies. Who knows you may see him lifting next world cup trophy.

Posted by hanso on (February 2, 2012, 2:39 GMT)

He should have promoted the 'heavy hitters' beneath him? 20-20 strikerates Christian 134 Bailey 132 Marsh 117 Maybe he earned that position

Posted by Wozza-CY on (February 2, 2012, 1:39 GMT)

The best thing CA has realised is that T20, ODI & Tests are three very different animals and are selecting players suited to each form. There was a time when they would send the team into a T20 game & use that as a net practice. The team looks good now & has a dearth of options in both batting & bowling. Bailey on the whole did a good job. Thought M.Marsh should have bowled & Dussey should have bowled more. Bailey could do well coming in behind the hitters & marshall the bowlers to manufacture a total if the need arose.

Posted by Cricket_theBestGame on (February 2, 2012, 1:37 GMT)

bailey seems to have a level head. the pressure wil always be on him. i agree with another comment that he has to bat as he is known to be a big hitter in T20. leave him alone and judge him after 10games !

Posted by Meety on (February 2, 2012, 1:08 GMT)

@Winsome - true, but Clarke also used to bowl a bit in T20s as well, I'd of still had him captaining the side from about #7 or #8 & bowling 2 to 4 overs! @ smudgeon - agree, although I think Christian & Marsh definately should of came in next. It wasn't like our depth in batting was diminished.

Posted by whyowhy on (February 2, 2012, 0:35 GMT)

Wade would have got a century if rain had not interrupted play......he was on fire. The Indians might now claim that too much test cricket has spoilt their T20 game...pathetic, Rahul Sharma was mouthing off obscenities in hindi at mothers and sisters just because he bowled Hussey at the death......good start young man, only the Indians do it this way........

Posted by PiitterPatter on (February 1, 2012, 23:20 GMT)

George Bailey acted selfishly in promoting himself in front of Mitchell Marsh. Two accumulators in Bailey and David Hussey was not the ideal combination in the context of the innings. He needed to validate the decision by swinging the bat with some purpose. Instead he deflected at balls and scurried through for painful singles. Experts have been keen to promote his cricketing brain, but it was glaringly obvious that he has limited knowledge of the fundamentals of physics. Moreover, it is unlikely that the ball hit along the ground will yield 6 runs, and if you swing at the ball with a short back-swing, expect too compromise power and boundary hitting ability.

Further to this, he chatted too much to the bowlers, as if to "over-do" his role as captain. It was as painful to watch as his frugal innings. As a general rule of thumb, men have a low tolerance to excessive verbalising, especially when one has a job to do. I can excuse Bailey's antics for one night only.

Posted by smudgeon on (February 1, 2012, 21:10 GMT)

Bailey's only crime seems to be he's a great captain with modest statistics. As an eager observer of Tasmanian cricket, I've seen him on a number of occasions stand up and score runs when his team needed him the most (never undervalue this), as well as scoring as a matter of course. There's nothing in the book that says the captain has to a) be the best player in the team, or b) set the world alight with power hitting every time he steps out with the bat. Maybe he could have put Marsh out there to have a swing, but from what I can see the damp conditions after the rain delay weren't making it easy for anyone to play the ball cleanly, and the pitch was showing some variable bounce.

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

hussey brothers r legends !

Posted by   on (February 1, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

hmm.. George Bailey. Reminded me of "It's a Wonderful Life" :-) is he named after the character in that movie, by any chance?

Posted by serious-am-i on (February 1, 2012, 15:29 GMT)

Bailey's decisions were baffling at times especially why did Hussey bowled just 2 overs when he was almost the best bowler of the day if he was not ? Hogg bowled few good deliveries but India should have taken him on. Ashwin showed how to play Hogg unfortunately others didn't.

Posted by Winsome on (February 1, 2012, 15:07 GMT)

What long standing tradition in T20 has Bailey's selection decamped from? Clarke wasn't even in the best 20 T20 batsmen in Aus when he got the job for training wheels. You can't blame Bailey for leaving himself at 5, he has to earn his way as a batsman and he is hardly going to show that much of a lack of confidence in himself by promoting a 20 year old above him in his frst match as skipper.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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