Australia v India, 2nd Twenty20, Melbourne February 3, 2012

Bailey defends tinkering with team combination

23

George Bailey has defended Australia's decision to tinker with their winning side as they begin to narrow their focus towards the World Twenty20 in September. Australia enjoyed a comfortable win in the first T20 in Sydney on Wednesday but they were outfielded by India at the MCG on Friday, which allowed MS Dhoni's men to draw the series 1-1.

Australia were dismissed for 131 having chosen to bat, and their disappointing effort came with Matthew Wade, who had opened and made 72 in the first game, batting down the order at No.6. He still contributed with 32 and his opening replacement Aaron Finch top-scored with 36, but Shaun Marsh at first drop failed to score and the batting was weakened with the allrounders Daniel Christian and James Faulkner left out.

But Bailey believes the two games have provided Australia with a valuable opportunity to assess their T20 stocks in a year when the world title is up for grabs. Australia will play two T20s in the West Indies in March but unless games are scheduled with Pakistan in the UAE during a limited-overs tour that might take place in August, they will be Australia's only outings before the World T20 in September in Sri Lanka.

"One of the things we wanted to get out of the week was trying a few different people in different spots," Bailey said. "Going forward Wadey is going to have opportunities at the top and in the middle. Even tonight I thought it was really pleasing that he showed he can achieve it in both areas. That just gives us another option at different times. As much as trying to win, this week was as much about trying to find out what different people can do in different situations.

"We've also got some players out, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, Pat Cummins. At some stage we have to knuckle down not only the guys that you want but also the areas, the roles you want them to play. While it was a great opportunity this week to try some people and try them in different areas and at different times with the bat and the ball, at some stage we have to start honing in. I thought this week worked really well in terms of having a look at some different people.

"I think we've got a pretty good mix. I think we've got some great young allrounders, also with Watson out of the team we have another good allrounder there. I think one of our strengths is going to be our versatility when we're full strength, come World Cup time."

While the batsmen struggled in the second game, especially against the nimble fielding of an energised India, Bailey said he was comfortable with the way his side had performed with bat and ball in the two games. The bowlers in particular kept creating opportunities and the fact that India had only two balls to spare when the winning runs came showed that Australia never gave the game away.

"It's one of those tough ones where we want to be attacking and keep trying to take wickets but we know we also can't give plenty of gaps where they can tick the scoreboard along," Bailey said. "It would have been nice to keep them winless before the one-day series but full credit to them, they outplayed us tonight, no doubt about that. It's disappointing that we lost tonight and India have got their first win, but it's probably a little bit surprising it's taken this long into a tour for India to get their first win up."

Some members of the Australian side will now join the one-day squad for the triangular series with India and Sri Lanka, while others will head back to their home states for domestic cricket. Wherever they are, Bailey hopes his men can at least keep the World T20 in the back of their minds.

"We've let guys know that everything that you're doing now with a T20 focus is starting to gear up towards that, whether that's with the bat or the ball, or your fitness or your fielding," he said. "While it's going to be hard as a group to do that [in the coming weeks], individually we'll still be focusing."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Meety on February 6, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    Don't mind the selectors trying Bailey, but watching the replay match on during the rain delay on Sunday, seeing the way Pup marshalled the troops in a T20, nearly 4 yrs ago, makes me think his T20 stats were an anomoly & he eventually would of lifted. I would rather have Pup @#7 & bowl 2 or 3 overs than Bailey (or White atm, for that matter). I suppose a full strength Oz side will have M Hussey & Watto as captain & v/c, so the Bailey experiment probably won't last.

  • Meety on February 5, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    @foursandsixes - you wish buddy, this will be about the first & last win of the season for India!!!

  • Sagay-Ed on February 4, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    When Dhoni fielded the same team that lost the first T20, I read someone calling that as arrogance. Once again he has proved himself as a good captain.

  • zenboomerang on February 4, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    Agree with some of the comments about CA - we all know the millions of dollars that come to CA from T20 from the fans... Perhaps respecting us 1st should be your goal - we're paying for it... I can understand adding Finch - but why not at no.3 ?... McKay for Faulkner - OK his BBL form was good... But adding an out of form batsman in S Marsh for Christian was the biggest brain-fade I have ever seen in any form of cricket... Christian has been in good form batting, bowling is handy & a great fielder - I just don't get using Marsh... A walking wicket that is injury prone...

  • zenboomerang on February 4, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    @VishalPathak... Good comments... & "May the best team win" - agree, that is what sport is all about... Wasn't happy that we lost, but happy for India's joy before the beginning of the Tri-nations series...

  • AidanFX on February 4, 2012, 2:40 GMT

    Whilst I do think the 20/20 format is a perfect opportunity to blood players and experiments - last night's selection and tinkering with the line-up was going too far. The game itself needs to be taken seriously. I tend to think if CA/ICC organised an even no of 50 Over and 20/20 matches - the Aust's would start taking this format more seriously than over experimenting like this game. I am aware however that there is a WC this yr; And also aware there are other players missing like M Hussey, Cummins, Pattinson - and so there is legitimacy with experimentation. At some point they going to have to establish the line up though.

  • on February 4, 2012, 1:25 GMT

    @wolfpac my bad, I meant S.Marsh.

  • da_team on February 3, 2012, 23:20 GMT

    LOL India won a game against a second rate Aussie side gratz India lmao well played.

  • othello22 on February 3, 2012, 23:15 GMT

    I see the IPL auction is fast approaching, no wonder India finally decided to get their act together. That said, Australia were poor last night. Four run outs (???), defensive captaincy and field placements applying no pressure at all to India's batsmen, bowling all over the shop... And this is without mentioning the ridiculous tinkering with a side that had already delivered them a convincing win. Seriously, on what basis was Shaun Marsh selected? Based on his commanding performance in the test series? That would be ironic, considering he was selected for the test series based on his performance in a T20 match. A tale of fail.

  • VivGilchrist on February 3, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    It's obvious the Aussies wanted to give everyone in the 14 man squad a game to see how thet fare. Bailey is not in the best XI, nor brothers Marsh. D.Hussey while a good player always seems to get bogged down when early wickets fall.This is where some good captaincy would mix up the batting order. Come the T20 World Cup, the addition of Watson, M.Hussey, and Harris will make a difference. Warner, Watson, Wade, Finch, D.Hussey, M.Hussey, Christian, Faulkner, Pattinson, Harris, Hogg. If the selectors can't take this game seriously, why should the fans?

  • Meety on February 6, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    Don't mind the selectors trying Bailey, but watching the replay match on during the rain delay on Sunday, seeing the way Pup marshalled the troops in a T20, nearly 4 yrs ago, makes me think his T20 stats were an anomoly & he eventually would of lifted. I would rather have Pup @#7 & bowl 2 or 3 overs than Bailey (or White atm, for that matter). I suppose a full strength Oz side will have M Hussey & Watto as captain & v/c, so the Bailey experiment probably won't last.

  • Meety on February 5, 2012, 23:59 GMT

    @foursandsixes - you wish buddy, this will be about the first & last win of the season for India!!!

  • Sagay-Ed on February 4, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    When Dhoni fielded the same team that lost the first T20, I read someone calling that as arrogance. Once again he has proved himself as a good captain.

  • zenboomerang on February 4, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    Agree with some of the comments about CA - we all know the millions of dollars that come to CA from T20 from the fans... Perhaps respecting us 1st should be your goal - we're paying for it... I can understand adding Finch - but why not at no.3 ?... McKay for Faulkner - OK his BBL form was good... But adding an out of form batsman in S Marsh for Christian was the biggest brain-fade I have ever seen in any form of cricket... Christian has been in good form batting, bowling is handy & a great fielder - I just don't get using Marsh... A walking wicket that is injury prone...

  • zenboomerang on February 4, 2012, 3:10 GMT

    @VishalPathak... Good comments... & "May the best team win" - agree, that is what sport is all about... Wasn't happy that we lost, but happy for India's joy before the beginning of the Tri-nations series...

  • AidanFX on February 4, 2012, 2:40 GMT

    Whilst I do think the 20/20 format is a perfect opportunity to blood players and experiments - last night's selection and tinkering with the line-up was going too far. The game itself needs to be taken seriously. I tend to think if CA/ICC organised an even no of 50 Over and 20/20 matches - the Aust's would start taking this format more seriously than over experimenting like this game. I am aware however that there is a WC this yr; And also aware there are other players missing like M Hussey, Cummins, Pattinson - and so there is legitimacy with experimentation. At some point they going to have to establish the line up though.

  • on February 4, 2012, 1:25 GMT

    @wolfpac my bad, I meant S.Marsh.

  • da_team on February 3, 2012, 23:20 GMT

    LOL India won a game against a second rate Aussie side gratz India lmao well played.

  • othello22 on February 3, 2012, 23:15 GMT

    I see the IPL auction is fast approaching, no wonder India finally decided to get their act together. That said, Australia were poor last night. Four run outs (???), defensive captaincy and field placements applying no pressure at all to India's batsmen, bowling all over the shop... And this is without mentioning the ridiculous tinkering with a side that had already delivered them a convincing win. Seriously, on what basis was Shaun Marsh selected? Based on his commanding performance in the test series? That would be ironic, considering he was selected for the test series based on his performance in a T20 match. A tale of fail.

  • VivGilchrist on February 3, 2012, 21:17 GMT

    It's obvious the Aussies wanted to give everyone in the 14 man squad a game to see how thet fare. Bailey is not in the best XI, nor brothers Marsh. D.Hussey while a good player always seems to get bogged down when early wickets fall.This is where some good captaincy would mix up the batting order. Come the T20 World Cup, the addition of Watson, M.Hussey, and Harris will make a difference. Warner, Watson, Wade, Finch, D.Hussey, M.Hussey, Christian, Faulkner, Pattinson, Harris, Hogg. If the selectors can't take this game seriously, why should the fans?

  • Nish8738 on February 3, 2012, 19:22 GMT

    Matches in UAE in the heat of august?

  • Nampally on February 3, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    India won this match convincingly thru' great fielding. Batting is showing signs of recovering. 2 good bowlers who are wicket takers, Praveen & Rahul Sharma did their job. So irrespective of who played for Australia, this younger & determined Indian team would have won. I must tell Mr. Bailey, " By George, India did it at last". It was a huge morale booster for the side which hit the rock bottom. The Test team was very poorly selected & totally unbalanced. There was not a single all rounder no wrist leg spinner. Now the All rounder Jadeja & the wrist leg spinner Rahul Sharma, both did an excellent job.I expect these 2 guys to play in the ODI's as well unless Dhoni gets another mental cramp!.Sachin & ZAK will displace 2 youngsters from this XI. I expect ZAK will replace Vinay & Sachin will displace either Raina or Rohit.Sachin & Sehwag are the only 2 double centurions in the history of ODI's & I hope they produce some of that magic here. On paper India is the best team & must WIN.

  • ihaq1 on February 3, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    well it seems that the aussie bowling was weaker today not taking many wickets and the australians found playing teh straighter spinner difficult...however kicking out the oldtimers has made the indians move faster...when u bat first the target should be higher and the batting more aggressive and the team still needs the best bowlers...The indians are however generally better at the shorter formats in which teh younger players can perform and not have to kowtow to teh tendulkar brigade...in the 20-20 bailey should realize that he must fix batting responsibilities and teh best bowlers or all rounders have tobe played just for the 10-20 extra runs

  • on February 3, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    @ Mark Simpson.

    M.Marsh close to negative, eh? What about the 78 he made at the Bash? Forgot about that or something?

  • on February 3, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    George Bailey was very disappointing. Bowling Doherty in the powerplays against Sehwag. Only using his best T20 bowler (Hussey) for 2 overs again. Having only 4 men inside the circle when India required less than a run a ball. Getting M.Marsh to come to the crease when the spinners are bowling when its obvious that hes a novice at playing spin. Not to mention his own batting performances and putting too much pressure on Wade by batting him down the order. I'm sure Clarke would have kept India's tour winless if he was still the T20 captain.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on February 3, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    As said these games (and i'm hoping the ODI's) are being used to try things out and test players. I dont really regard T20 as an Australian cap anyway and the goal is to be number 1 in Tests. The most amusing thing for me is that we saw more energy and enthusiasm (4 run outs!) from India in 20 overs than we did in 4 entire Test matches.

  • swamistyle on February 3, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    CA just doesnt get it when it comes to T20. They don't take the format seriously & continue to experiment to the detriment of the side. Previously they made Michael Clarke captain when he wasn't a T20 player & it cost us the last world cup. But all CA was interested in was giving their golden child leadership experience for when he would eventually take over the test side. Now they pluck Bailey outta nowhere & make him captain when he has never played an international game at any level & straight after a poor series in the Big Bash. This plus giving S Marsh yet another chance meant Australia played with 9 men last night. To add insult to injury they tinkered with a winning combination which is crazy given we only get 2 matches for the summer & it gave India a boost b4 the ODI series. Here's an idea CA: If u wanna win the next world cup - pick the best 11 in their best positions & make the captain 1 of that 11. Im sure Warner or Watson or D Hussey could do a better job than Bailey

  • Shreks on February 3, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    Really wonder whether George is the right person to lead the side probably david hussey or Bret lee must take up captaincy.George Bailey is like M.S.Dhoni in the sense that he may not even make into the playing eleven if he wasn't the captain.Hopefully Australia can win the Tri-Series comprehensively without experimenting too much.

  • foursandsixes on February 3, 2012, 14:54 GMT

    Well said @Ajay. We will see the litany of excuses starting to come out from now on from the Aussies!

  • Marcio on February 3, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    Hopefully this policy does not degrade both team performance and the value of an Australian cap. On the basis of today's game, it concerns me. I'd rather see the best players on the field. Are Bailey, Birt and co better then Mike Hussey? Just one example. It's obvious the AUS management see t20 as a form of the game where they can experiment and blood new players. Winning is not the main priority.

  • on February 3, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    Well said Geroge so far. Excuses will only come when you start losing few more matches. Weather, injuries, selection, field placing, dropped catches etc etc ( cant think of anything else at present as overjoyed over blues first victory!!)

  • VishalPathak on February 3, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    Captain faces the heat when team looses, who knows better than Dhoni. He knows or his heart knows what had happened before today. We can wish best for Team India. They take time to settle down. Loosing Test series 0-4 to drawing 20-20 by 1-1 and now we can hope to win the ODI series, thats my wishlist. May the best team win!!!

  • on February 3, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Yeah, you're right George. I mean, bowling D.Huss for only 2 overs on Wednesday when he had 2/4 was clearly brilliant, and playing M.Marsh tonight when he's made close to negative runs in the last 3 months was inspired. Seriously, this is the guy we are choosing as Captain based on captaincy skills alone? Wow.

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  • on February 3, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    Yeah, you're right George. I mean, bowling D.Huss for only 2 overs on Wednesday when he had 2/4 was clearly brilliant, and playing M.Marsh tonight when he's made close to negative runs in the last 3 months was inspired. Seriously, this is the guy we are choosing as Captain based on captaincy skills alone? Wow.

  • VishalPathak on February 3, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    Captain faces the heat when team looses, who knows better than Dhoni. He knows or his heart knows what had happened before today. We can wish best for Team India. They take time to settle down. Loosing Test series 0-4 to drawing 20-20 by 1-1 and now we can hope to win the ODI series, thats my wishlist. May the best team win!!!

  • on February 3, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    Well said Geroge so far. Excuses will only come when you start losing few more matches. Weather, injuries, selection, field placing, dropped catches etc etc ( cant think of anything else at present as overjoyed over blues first victory!!)

  • Marcio on February 3, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    Hopefully this policy does not degrade both team performance and the value of an Australian cap. On the basis of today's game, it concerns me. I'd rather see the best players on the field. Are Bailey, Birt and co better then Mike Hussey? Just one example. It's obvious the AUS management see t20 as a form of the game where they can experiment and blood new players. Winning is not the main priority.

  • foursandsixes on February 3, 2012, 14:54 GMT

    Well said @Ajay. We will see the litany of excuses starting to come out from now on from the Aussies!

  • Shreks on February 3, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    Really wonder whether George is the right person to lead the side probably david hussey or Bret lee must take up captaincy.George Bailey is like M.S.Dhoni in the sense that he may not even make into the playing eleven if he wasn't the captain.Hopefully Australia can win the Tri-Series comprehensively without experimenting too much.

  • swamistyle on February 3, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    CA just doesnt get it when it comes to T20. They don't take the format seriously & continue to experiment to the detriment of the side. Previously they made Michael Clarke captain when he wasn't a T20 player & it cost us the last world cup. But all CA was interested in was giving their golden child leadership experience for when he would eventually take over the test side. Now they pluck Bailey outta nowhere & make him captain when he has never played an international game at any level & straight after a poor series in the Big Bash. This plus giving S Marsh yet another chance meant Australia played with 9 men last night. To add insult to injury they tinkered with a winning combination which is crazy given we only get 2 matches for the summer & it gave India a boost b4 the ODI series. Here's an idea CA: If u wanna win the next world cup - pick the best 11 in their best positions & make the captain 1 of that 11. Im sure Warner or Watson or D Hussey could do a better job than Bailey

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on February 3, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    As said these games (and i'm hoping the ODI's) are being used to try things out and test players. I dont really regard T20 as an Australian cap anyway and the goal is to be number 1 in Tests. The most amusing thing for me is that we saw more energy and enthusiasm (4 run outs!) from India in 20 overs than we did in 4 entire Test matches.

  • on February 3, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    George Bailey was very disappointing. Bowling Doherty in the powerplays against Sehwag. Only using his best T20 bowler (Hussey) for 2 overs again. Having only 4 men inside the circle when India required less than a run a ball. Getting M.Marsh to come to the crease when the spinners are bowling when its obvious that hes a novice at playing spin. Not to mention his own batting performances and putting too much pressure on Wade by batting him down the order. I'm sure Clarke would have kept India's tour winless if he was still the T20 captain.

  • on February 3, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    @ Mark Simpson.

    M.Marsh close to negative, eh? What about the 78 he made at the Bash? Forgot about that or something?