Aus v NZ, Champions Trophy, Group A, Edgbaston

Bailey goes in to bat again

Australia's problems seems to be mounting but their stand-in captain dealt with the flak before focusing on what his team could do better

Jarrod Kimber at Edgbaston

June 11, 2013

Comments: 9 | Text size: A | A

George Bailey fancies a little tennis as Mitchell Marsh and Phil Hughes watch at a practice session before their match against New Zealand, Edgbaston, June 11, 2013
George Bailey will need more runs from the likes of Phillip Hughes and Mitchell Marsh against New Zealand © Getty Images

"I think we've only lost the first game thus far," a smirking George Bailey said.

It has been a rough couple of days for Australia in England. Michael Clarke will not play against New Zealand and, as Bailey put it in a slight understatement, "He's our captain and out best batsman." He could have said, he is our life force, our sunshine, our everything, yet still understated the effect that Clarke's absence has on this team. When asked when Clarke might be back, he said: "I not qualified, I'm not good with backs."

Without Clarke, and with the entire English press corps slating them at every chance, Australia could be forgiven for crawling up in a ball in a corner of Edgbaston and waiting for it all to end. Instead when the press bashing of Australia was brought up, Bailey responded with a gag. "The English press. We read everything they write, we take it very, very seriously and they're privy to everything we do," he said. "No, we take it with a pinch of salt. The loss hurt us more than anyone. We don't want to be losing to England, we don't want to be losing to anyone."

Australia's form is one of the recurring themes of this tournament. Other than Pakistan, no other team seems so incapable of making runs. The loss to England was embarrassing and, despite their being only a couple of Australian journalists covering the team, a second loss to New Zealand will really upset the fans and up the pressure.

Australians generally patronise New Zealand and look down on their cricket. But in this game, with New Zealand's ODI form in England, the fact they won their first game, their bowling attack, and how long they have had to acclimatise, they might for the first time in a very long time go into this game as favourites. Even if the bookies and punters still believe Australia deserve that title.

In the mode of modern cricket, Bailey seemed far more interested in his team than the opposition. Sure, he said the normal, "They're in good form, their one-day cricket has been pretty consistent for a number of years," about New Zealand but mostly he was focused on his own team. "For us to play our best cricket and get back to where we want to be, it's about focusing a bit more internally."

Nowhere is that more important than with Australia's failing batsmen. "Batting's a good example of that," he said. "The challenge is, when you've had a couple of poor batting performances, that the guys start to think about their place within the team or their role within the team. And what we want our guys to do is go out there with that clarity and that freedom to bat how they bat."

Luckily for the players in this Australia squad, with Clarke out, there is really no other full-time batsman to push for a spot, so they have two matches to really back themselves. And they'll be doing it against a team that hasn't beaten Australia in an ICC 50-over tournament since 1999.

Australia are considering playing Xavier Doherty on this pitch, on which South Africa defeated Pakistan on Monday and where spin was hard to get away. Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson are the most likely front-line bowlers to make way but, while Johnson can be flighty and inconsistent at times, he has often been, as one journalist put it, "a thorn in New Zealand's flesh".

Bailey enjoyed hearing that. It was, perhaps the most positive part of the entire press conference for him. Now he will be hoping that after Australia have played their two traditional enemies, he isn't fronting the press on Wednesday night saying we've only lost two games thus far.

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Posted by Fan1969 on (June 12, 2013, 9:28 GMT)

Good chance of NZ to improve the 17-1 WL record at neutral venues against Australia. NZ will win easily.

Aussie decline will be same as WI after the greats retired. While WI has produced greats like Lara, Gayle, Ambrose etc...thereafter but they lose more often than not.

While Clarke, Watson, Johnson etc. are great players and may win them a few matches but a team is made of 11 players not just a few great. I think the W-L record of Austrlia will take a big dip over next decade. In T20s they are already ranked 7. ODIs they will soon dip to 6th or 7th rank from 2nd as they play ouside home conditions.

Clarke, Bailey will be like Richardson, Hooper who blocked one end while WI lost matches after matches.

Posted by rohan024 on (June 12, 2013, 5:56 GMT)

I think and i wish that Australia wins. In Watson, Warner, Johnson, Starc, Bailey etc etc. they have some world class players and i just don't understand how they loose so often these days.

Posted by   on (June 12, 2013, 5:26 GMT)

Somebody, in Aus line up need to stand up and play an innings that will pull them up.. May be its time for Hughes to score a century.. :D

Posted by Mad_Hamish on (June 12, 2013, 3:33 GMT)

The resting Vettori is because his body isn't up to it anymore.

Posted by   on (June 12, 2013, 2:17 GMT)

"Australia could be forgiven for crawling up in a ball in a corner of Edgbaston and waiting for it all to end" - you obviously have no idea who you are talking about. Australian's aren't weak like that

Posted by bobagorof on (June 12, 2013, 0:41 GMT)

Gautam N. Shenoy: "Daniel Vettori is an unsure starter for New Zealand's match against Australia due to his long-standing Achilles tendon injury." I'm sure you've read this before, as you commented on the article it was from. I suppose Australia could likewise say they are 'resting' Michael Clarke.

Posted by   on (June 11, 2013, 20:39 GMT)

Bailey should be the permanent captain of australia in odi and t20.

Posted by   on (June 11, 2013, 15:52 GMT)

Really worrying where their next win is going to come from, are the Australians. NZ thinking of "resting" Vettori, one of their main players! This is an insult in itself to the Aussies. When do you rest big players? In a match against a lesser team indeed!

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