Bailey nominates Finch as successor
George Bailey has endorsed Aaron Finch as a potential captain of Australia's Twenty20 team and said that discovering a world-class T20 spinner should be Australia's priority in the shortest form. Bailey stood down from the captaincy on Sunday and may have played his last T20 international, although he hopes to win selection again in the future.
He was installed as captain on debut in early 2012 and led Australia to a World T20 semi-final in Sri Lanka later that year, although they were unable to progress to that stage in Bangladesh earlier this year. Bailey said that with the next World T20 to be played in India in 2016, stepping down from the captaincy now would give his successor a chance to develop in the role.
"I think there's plenty of candidates," Bailey said from Zimbabwe, where he led Australia in the ODI tri-series after Michael Clarke flew home with a hamstring injury. "It's a bit speculative, but I think Aaron Finch would be really good. I think he's someone who has done it really well domestically [for Melbourne Renegades] and I think he thrives on it.
"I think he's going to have a lot of opportunities to play. He's someone who would do it really well. But whoever the selectors go with I'm sure will do it really well. They will know the challenges that come with it. But I think it will be someone of the age where they really embrace the T20 culture."
Bailey captained Australia in 28 T20s for 14 wins and has been the country's longest-serving leader in the format. He said that regardless of who succeeded him, Australia's biggest priority should be finding a spinner who can thrive in turning conditions. Australia's spinners claimed only four wickets in this year's World T20 despite the helpful pitches.
"I think we did really well in Sri Lanka," Bailey said. "I think we probably got further than perhaps we should've, on the back of some wonderful individual performances, which sums up T20 in some respects. Bangladesh was really interesting because I actually thought we played really good T20 cricket in the two games that knocked us out, and then we were out. That's the nature of the game. That was difficult to swallow.
"Given where the last two World Cups have been, given where the next World Cup is, from my conversations with Pat Howard, I honestly think our challenge as a T20 team is to find a world-class spinner. That is what's going to take us to the next level."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale