Sri Lanka in Australia, 2012-13

Bailey set to lead in Clarke's stead

Daniel Brettig

January 5, 2013

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George Bailey's wasn't the most fluent of innings, Melbourne Stars v Hobart Hurricanes, Big Bash League, December 15, 2012
George Bailey may have the chance to be part of the Australia Test squad that travels to India © Getty Images
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Series/Tournaments: Sri Lanka tour of Australia
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George Bailey is expected to add the stand-in captaincy of Australia's ODI team to his leadership of the national Twenty20 side when the squad for the first two matches against Sri Lanka is named on Sunday, with Michael Clarke set to be given time to recover from the hamstring strain he has carried through two Tests.

As Shane Watson remains unavailable due to a calf injury, and David Warner and Matthew Wade are also expected to be given time off after a demanding Test match schedule, ESPNcricinfo understands George Bailey will have the chance to enhance his standing as a specialist captain, in the ODIs at the MCG on January 11 and Adelaide Oval on January 13.

The national selector John Inverarity's high opinion of Bailey's captaincy and leadership skills may yet see him surprise many by being included in the Test squad to tour India, though he will need some substantial scores over the next month to press that case after making an indifferent start to the Sheffield Shield season with Tasmania.

Michael Hussey's international career may not go on past the SCG Test as the selectors look to try others for the future, with the likes of Aaron Finch to be considered. Phillip Hughes has also a chance to be handed his ODI debut after a strong run of scores in the format over the past year, while Brad Haddin may be recalled to don the gloves in the ODI series during a period of break for Wade.

Depending on the progress of his hamstring, Clarke may then return for the third match of the series in Brisbane on January 18. The national selectors are conscious of not over-stretching Clarke after the events of last summer's triangular series involving Sri Lanka and India, when the captain returned swiftly from one hamstring strain and then suffered one to his other leg. That injury kept him out of the limited-overs portion of the West Indies tour that followed.

This time around Australia's next assignment following the limited-overs leg of the summer is a Test series in India, meaning Inverarity's selection panel is far less likely to risk a less than fully-fit Clarke - to lose the team's captain and best batsman to injury for Test matches in the subcontinent would most likely be disastrous.

Since leading Australia to the semi-finals of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, Bailey has been a quiet participant in the Australian summer, failing to make a Shield century and contributing only a trio of cameos to the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League (BBL). But he showed a cool head when introduced to the ODI team in 2012, making runs in difficult circumstances in the West Indies and then being the only batsman to enhance his reputation during the dire ODI tour of England in June and July.

In 13 limited-overs appearances for Australia to date, Bailey has 445 runs at an eminently respectable 40.09 and a strike rate of 77.50 with a trio of half-centuries and a top score of 65. His ascendance to the captaincy of the Australian T20 team without previously playing an international match had been the source of much debate, something dredged up again recently when Shane Warne questioned Bailey's quality as a batsman during a BBL joust in Melbourne.

A pair of edges by Bailey when facing Warne led the former Australia legspinner to remark while miked up to the broadcasters: "You would think the Australian Twenty20 captain would smack me out of the park, wouldn't you? Rather than keep nicking me?"

Bailey responded to the taunt with good grace, and will now have the chance to audition for further national duty. The possibility that runs and victories against the Sri Lankans could mean a place in the Test squad to travel to India is not out of the question.

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

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Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 23:31 GMT)

Ben Laughlin a very underrated bowler and should get a look in, in the one day team and or 20/20 Australian squad, leading wicket taker in the current big bash tournament....

Posted by tankman on (January 5, 2013, 23:12 GMT)

What a joke! Why would i take my 2 boys to the cricket and spend $250 when their 3 favorite players Warner, Clark and Hussey are not playing. Players should never be rested for international games, it devalues the competition and therefore eventually will result in lower crowds and tv ratings. The solution is less cricket - simple.

Posted by mjee on (January 5, 2013, 23:11 GMT)

I think John Inverarity's arrogance and cockiness is going to catch up with him soon... The bowler rotations caught up with them against South Africa and not even mentioned anymore. Thanks largely to Sri Lanka's shocking test display. But one day cricket is a different game and SL has good players coming into the side. Aus in trouble I reckon, and may even lose 5-0... with all the arrogance and resting of players....

Posted by Batmanian on (January 5, 2013, 23:06 GMT)

Australia should drop the ODI format, except for the twelve months leading up to a World Cup. Then have eight test summers (and two-test Top End minnow series in winter/spring).

5 tests against RSA/Eng/Ind (Bris, Boxing Day, New Year, Per, Adelaide) 3 tests against Pak/SL/WI/NZ (Hobart, Docklands indoors D/N, and either SCG D/N or Canberra).

Of course promotion or demotion between these pools possible, according to performance.

Don't take T20I too seriously; maybe schedule ten of them.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 22:24 GMT)

Come on selectors-bite the bullet! Pick Steve Smith AND make him captain. He deserves another chance and has great all-round skills.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (January 5, 2013, 21:23 GMT)

So CA expect me the consumer to hand over $70 to watch George Bailey captain a makeshift Australian XI? ....and they wonder why crowds are down for ODIs?

Posted by Mecrickethere on (January 5, 2013, 17:58 GMT)

50 50 is different than test so i hope sri lanka will comeback and win very easily

Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 17:32 GMT)

My squad without clarke,watson,warner and wade Shaun Marsh Philip Hughes Brad Haddin(wk) Michael Hussey David Hussey/Cameron White George Baily(c) Glen Maxwell/Daniel Christian Mitchel Jonson Xavier Doherty Mitchel Starc Josh Hazlewood

Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 17:05 GMT)

Must pick Tim Paine, Shaun Marsh, Jackson Bird, David Hussey and Ferguson... Also they should think of Josh Hazlewood, Ben Cutting, Finch and Ben Laughlin... Mike should lead the side...

Posted by Shridharan.S on (January 5, 2013, 16:18 GMT)

Michael Hussey would be a good choice for captaincy.

Posted by Icyman on (January 5, 2013, 14:55 GMT)

George Bailey as a skipper is a surprise move. It was a surprise when John Inverarity introduced him to us as the T20 skipper. But this is seriously going a bit far. Though I agree that Aus do not yet have a person who can lead after Clarke, but tossing it to Bailey is preposterous.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 14:04 GMT)

Cricket Australia should start grooming e next test captain who should be at least 8 years younger than Clarke

Posted by Jeyan_Sinthu on (January 5, 2013, 13:26 GMT)

Definitely this series vl end vth 4-1 or 3-2 in favour of Sri Lanka. Definitely lions vl outplay Aussies in the shorter formats.

Posted by Jayzuz on (January 5, 2013, 13:22 GMT)

Just as well Bailey can captain... Too bad Warner is resting, though! SL will be in with a good chance with our makeshift mob.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 13:16 GMT)

I can't really see why they'd leave M.Hussey out. Yes he is retiring but with the absence of Clarke, Watson, Warner and Wade i'd have though that the Aussies would be loathe to go in even further under manned. Surely there is opportunity enough with the absence of the others. Australia still needs to be putting a strong side on the park. I'm really keen on having Hughes in the team more than anyone else. He looks to be in good nick and I think its vital for him to be building his confidence through runs at international level, regardless of the format i'm sure he is going to become a much better batsman with a solid resume of runs scored. He needs the confidence of knowing that his game is in working order going into a big 6 months of cricket.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 13:09 GMT)

hmmm, I hope this is just a patch up job, because the selectors have no other options. Bailey should never be considered for tests, he is way behind on shield form, as is David Hussey. I would like to think that the selectors have the 2015 WC in mind when selecting teams for every ODI we play from now on.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 13:08 GMT)

@D-Train, In regards to the resting, i'm not sure it is that simple anymore. Sure they are Pro Athletes, but they are not super-human. Some of them have been pretty much playing cricket the whole year and for the guys who play 3 formats like Warner, Wade, Starc etc there won't be any respite between now and the end of the Ashes in August/September? Wade's slopiness behind the stumps is perhaps the greatest proof that he is overdue a break.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 13:03 GMT)

my Sqaud 1.Marsh 2.Finch 3.TD Paine(wk) 4.Bailey(capt) 5.D Hussey 6.Christian 7. Maxwell 8 Kane Richardson 9. Starc 10.Josh Hazlewood 11.lyon

Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 12:37 GMT)

Srilankans Always Better side than in Test in ODI's!! Hoping a Cracker of a series In sha ALLAH Lions Will Win the Series!!

Posted by Jaffa79 on (January 5, 2013, 12:10 GMT)

It's time to play the music

It's time to light the lights

It's time to meet the Aussies on the Aussie show tonight

Posted by nthuq on (January 5, 2013, 12:07 GMT)

@D-Train, I reckon the selectors have the right idea in resting players in meaningless bilateral series. It's what South Africa have done for Steyn and Kallis, and it's helped immeasurably to make sure they're available for virtually every test. Admittedly, it's less of a worry for batsmen, though a nice break away from the continual grind of cricket is always helpful. Ideally Starc should be given a break at some point and Lyon should get a go in ODIs.

Posted by katandthat3 on (January 5, 2013, 12:06 GMT)

My Aussie Squad: despite the resting my strong squad would be; Warner, Hughes, Finch, Clarke, Marsh, Ferguson, Wade, Johnson, Richardson, Laughlin, Doherty, Starc, Maxwell, Christian. Be good to give others exposure like Faulkner, Coulter-Nile (a bit off at the moment though), Khawaja, Burns, O'Keefe and Paine down the track. Hope they don't use this series to get ready for India but I'm starting to wonder what the NSP are on.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 12:01 GMT)

This is a good move. Without Hussey's experience and Watson unproven as a leader Bailey is an excellent choice. He also played very well in the last ODI tour batting anywhere in the top 6 with effect. Just because he has not scored much in the Shield this year means nothing. He has been very effective in the T20s rotating the strike and hitting off the loose ball and not panicking exactly what is needed in the national ODI side. Now that White is no serious contender for captaincy of any type let along dubious form for inclusion this is a good move. Get off his case guys they need a proven leader.

Posted by Mary_786 on (January 5, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

Khawaja should get a go in the ODI side, he has been in great form in the Ryobi cup and jimmyrob83 don't worry Khawaja will be the number 6 or reserve batsman in India, no way Bailey is going to India as the selectors don't reward mediocre shileld performance and there ain't too many shield games before the Indian tour team is selected.

Posted by D-Train on (January 5, 2013, 11:43 GMT)

Think everybody is being pretty harsh on Bailey. He currently averages over 40 in ODI's. Based on that he has definitely earned his spot in the team.

It's a bit of a shame that there's all this resting going on. These blokes are supposed to be professional athletes. They should be fit enough to play through a summer without needing a rest. Maybe CA needs to work on their own recovery techniques.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (January 5, 2013, 11:32 GMT)

Jimmyrob80 is correct it would be wrongif Bailey is captain and even more wrong if he is in the test squad ahead of Khawaja, terrible shield season and hasn't done anything in the ODIs and we are rewarding him, where has the Argus review gone. So far the selectors this summer have rewarded performance i.e Hughes, Khawaja, Bird but this doesn't make sense.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 11:27 GMT)

CAPTAIN, some one who don't have place in Austrilia's playing eleven?

Posted by maddinson on (January 5, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

Hughes, Finch, Khawaja, Ferguson, G Bailey, D Hussey, Paine, Starc, Lyon, Kane Richardson, McDermott

Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 11:21 GMT)

Get UZZIE IN!, He is the second highest Ryobi scorer this season. While Bailey dosn't crack the top 10 shield or Ryobi tallies. Hughes in for Warner Khawaja for Hussey.

Posted by Beertjie on (January 5, 2013, 11:18 GMT)

With due respect to your fine writing, I find your claim that "The possibility that runs and victories against the Sri Lankans could mean a place in the Test squad to travel to India is not out of the question" reflective of the most deplorable tendencies of the NSP. Where is Peter Forrest now? And Glenn Maxwell wasn't even tried after being in the test squad. Why mix up players from the different formats and exclude Hughes from the ODIs? Sure Warner was a find as was Cummins, but is that the kind of punting that characterized debates in the NSP? Where's the difference between these tendencies and the hunch-punting of Hilditch? It seems Argus is more honoured in the breach...

Posted by alchemist_sandeep on (January 5, 2013, 11:12 GMT)

give chance to camroon white to lead and also include him in test team for indai...his ipl experience may play handy role in tests...

Posted by CricketBirbal on (January 5, 2013, 11:01 GMT)

Looks like any Tom,Dick and Harry can now Captain and play for Australia so long as he is a Batsman (Good or Average). Sorry state from the batting riches that they had a decade ago.

Posted by Jimmyrob83 on (January 5, 2013, 10:55 GMT)

George Bailey in the ODI side AND captain. Get off the gear Inverarity.

Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 10:49 GMT)

They should play both Haddin and Wade - and get Wade to bowl as an all-rounder!

Posted by   on (January 5, 2013, 10:31 GMT)

Oh well, thought we could blood some youth but it looks like an older player goes again

Comments have now been closed for this article

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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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