World Twenty20 2012

Bailey wants a new type of spinner

Brydon Coverdale

October 8, 2012

Comments: 78 | Text size: A | A

Xavier Doherty and George Bailey discuss their plans, Australia v West Indies, 2nd semi-final, World Twenty20 2012, Colombo, October 5, 2012
Australia's spinners picked up only eight wickets in the World T20 compared to 28 wickets from the fast bowlers © ICC/Getty
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George Bailey believes Australia's spin bowlers must find a way to be more effective on the subcontinent if the team is to have any chance of winning the next World Twenty20, to be held in Bangladesh in 2014. After returning home Monday Bailey also defended the form of the middle-order batsmen, who besides his own 63 in the semi-final loss to West Indies had little impact in the tournament as the top three carried the bulk of the workload.

Three days after Australia's tournament ended their exit might not have looked so bad, coming as it did against the eventual champions. However, one notable feature of the final was that both sides had outstanding finger-spinners with a mystery element: Sri Lanka's Ajantha Mendis was the tournament's leading wicket taker with 15 at 9.80 and the West Indian Sunil Narine was equal fourth with nine victims, including five in the semi-final and the decider.

Another bowler of similar ilk, Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal, was also equal fourth on the wicket tally and all three were miserly as well. In contrast, Xavier Doherty leaked 8.63 runs an over - his 1 for 48 from three overs in the semi-final seriously dented Australia's hopes - while Brad Hogg managed only two wickets in his six games and the allrounder Glenn Maxwell was equally ineffective. Bailey knows it will be almost impossible to win in Bangladesh in 2014 with a similar slow-bowling output.

"One of the things we need to look at is the way we bowl our spin," Bailey said. "I don't know any other way to describe it than as a Western-type way of bowling, which tends to be to try and draw the batsman out of the crease, whereas all the teams who have had success at the World Cup, their spinners are bowling into the wicket, quite fast, hitting the stumps every ball, making it very hard.

"We need to find a way to develop spinners like that, and the tough thing is maybe bowling like that doesn't really suit conditions in Australia. But I think if you look at all the stats from the tournament that was probably one of the areas that if we're serious about winning the tournament we're going to have to find a way to improve come Bangladesh."

During the World Twenty20, Muttiah Muralitharan said he believed one of the reasons Australia would not produce such a spinner was that unorthodox bowlers would be encouraged at junior levels to change their style. Bailey said it was important that young spinners with potential were identified regardless of whether they fit the Australian idea of what makes a good slow bowler.

"As a nation we still talk about whether guys have legitimate actions or not and at the end of the day that's really not for us to be arguing about," Bailey said. "If that's the rules and that's how bowlers are bowling now and having success in international cricket then we've got to start developing those players and developing them at 10-11 years of age and we start to have some bowlers who do bowl like Murali or Ajmal or Narine.

"You're hoping that a few of our spinners are watching the tournament [World T20] and seeing the type of spinners that are having success. I think the way our coaching system is set up it's going to be tough for some spinners to get through because the way a lot of the spinners who have had success bowl in the subcontinent, you're probably not going to be playing much cricket in Australia if you bowl like that. There's a balancing act there."

A lack of impact from the spinners cost Australia but there were also concerns about the imbalance in the batting order, with most of the runs coming from the openers Shane Watson and David Warner, and the No.3 Michael Hussey. Although opportunities were limited because of the success of the top three, there were still times when Australia needed runs from the middle order, notably in the semi-final.

Chasing 206, Australia were 29 for 3 and it was the perfect time for the rest of the batsmen to step up and back the work of Watson, Warner and Hussey from earlier in the tournament. Batting at No.5, Bailey blasted 63 from 29 balls but had no real support - Cameron White was caught down leg side for 5, David Hussey chipped a return catch for a duck and Matthew Wade top-edged a sweep.

"It's a tough one. If you're talking about winning the tournament, I think if you're winning a World Cup you're not talking about how well your four, five and six batted," Bailey said. "Your one, two and three need to get you the runs. Four, five and six come in and either get you to a reasonable total or save your bacon. But if you're winning the games it's your top three you need to rely on.

"I think whenever we're progressing through to the back end of one of these tournaments we're not going to be seeing much of the middle order. The challenge of the format is when you do get a chance you've got to be prepared to step up and make it your day."

Australia's exit before the final was a disappointing way for Bailey to end his first tournament in charge, but he said the memories wouldn't be all bad.

"To knock out South Africa and India as we did was really pleasing," he said. "I thought we played some really good cricket there. It's just a matter of when you do get to the knockout stages you've got to be able to play your best cricket."

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

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Posted by rsgarcia on (October 11, 2012, 15:47 GMT)

@hyclass, I am confused. In what way did I personally attack @Marcio? What names did I call him? I noted no supporting research by either yourself or @Marcio to this point. I await it's publication so that I may respond. In the meantime, listing out the ways in which a format differs from test cricket is in no way evidence. Neither are the personal feelings of one cricketer. And really, what does audience attendence have to do with any of this? I think you're reaching for straws. Its rather rich you ask me to prove a negative, when you're the one who insisted you had compelling anecdotal evidence. A clear admission that no real, scientific evidence exists to support your position. Bring me proof that doesn't come in the form of someone's personal commentary (which anyone can use to support anything) and I'll be happy to take you seriously. Until then, you can have your opinions and I have mine. In no way is that an attack on your or @Marcio.

Posted by   on (October 11, 2012, 15:18 GMT)

Remember a time not far gone; how Muttiah Muralitharan was once vilified, derided, disparaged, even condemned, by all things Australia- umpires, players, crowds, and no less than the then Australian prime minister, John Howard. Now we have an Australian captain saying that they desperately need a bowler of Murali's ilk and caiber. My, how the axis of cricket talent and opinion has turned! George Bailey's statement is an unknowing and infinitesimal apology to the great man Murali himself. And maybe that's all he will get from them; but he doesn't have to care now, or ever.

Posted by Lovedegame on (October 11, 2012, 12:33 GMT)

It is a shame the Aus captain was happy enough to put Soutafrica and India out of the cup this has been a trend with all Aussies, that is one of the reasons they dint get to the finals, if they had beaten Pakistan they might have taken the momentum and won the cup and i am sure they would have neaten Srilanks

Posted by hyclass on (October 11, 2012, 10:20 GMT)

@rsgarcia...I see you neatly side-stepped the researched supporting information that validates @Marcio's point of view and reached for the lowest form of retort, personal attack. If you wish to be taken seriously, I expect supporting data,not just name dropping. It was Pietersen himself who earlier this year, publicly deprecated the populating of tournaments like the IPL with sub-standard first class Aus players. The fact that retired players can earn a living there after careers are over hardly screams 'high standard'. The dividing of 240 balls for the entire match between 22 men or less than 11 balls each-very testing. Teams being bowled out in under 20 overs-very relevant to Test cricket. Top flight batsmen averaging up to low 30's-so impressive and bowlers only going for 6-7 runs an over in their 24 balls being considered a success. Recent articles on Cricinfo describing near empty stadiums in India for IPL as even Indians struggle to find relevance in crickets lowest format.

Posted by ygkd on (October 11, 2012, 3:43 GMT)

Actually, right now there's a rain delay at the "sub-continental" Adelaide Oval, interrupting a fighting innings by SA's Ludeman.

Posted by ygkd on (October 11, 2012, 3:35 GMT)

@Meety, sure Oz conditions vary, but so too do overseas ones like in the Carribean and England/Wales, if in perhaps more subtle ways. A World Tour down under? We shouldn't be so complacent as to think about that. We need to use more than the traditional 5 grounds plus 1. That's the bottom line. If that means more games up north, then why not? Fortress Oz is not a mentality that will ultimately get us anywhere, nor will a constant obsession with the WACA's uniqueness help at all. It's a good pitch but only one amongst dozens and dozens on the international circuit. Time to expand our horizons a tad before the game beats us to it. As for the U19s, I just thought India were the better side or at least had a couple of stand-out players in their side. Didn't know they brought the pitch with them! Hopefully, the locals will have learnt from the final. That's what such things should be about. When you're too good for improvement, reconsider your position. Same applies to the range of grounds.

Posted by Meety on (October 10, 2012, 23:52 GMT)

@ygkd on (October 09 2012, 20:58 PM GMT) - I would say that a tour of Oz represents the closest thing to a world tour in cricket. Oz has the unique WACA, then the Gabba is fairly Saffa-like, Adelaide can be sub-continental, Belreive can be NZ/English, & the drop in MCG can represent what the Adelaide Oval will eventually be - bland. I think Oz already has sub-continent types of pitches in Townsville(no real coincidence that India won the U19s w/cup) & Darwin.

Posted by rsgarcia on (October 10, 2012, 19:54 GMT)

@hyclass, PS. If T20 is so bad for Test cricket, how do you explain the fact that good/great batsmen manage to keep their form across all formats? How do you explain Samuels, Gayle, Kallis, Kohli and so many others who have played lots of T20 at the highest standard, but still are good, orthodox batsmen? And how do you explain that the highest run getters in T20 get their runs from playing good, foundational cricket, rather than bashing it to all parts? Or do you consider the likes of Watson, Sangakarra, Pietersen, Warner etc. to be lacking in concentration, technique, or willingness to play for country? Really, the stories you T20 haters tell yourselves...

Posted by hyclass on (October 10, 2012, 13:05 GMT)

@rsgarcia...my sympathies lie entirely with @Marcio...India has played Australia 82 times in Test matches since 1947/8 with Australia leading head to head by 38 Tests to 20. Australia last beat India in India in the 2004/5..India have never beaten Australia in Australia..the last series was an Aus 4-0 whitewash and the preceding series against England in England by India was equally embarrassing. There is compelling anecdotal evidence supplying a link between T20 cricket and the diminution of 1st class batting in general and its affects on technique,concentration and the undermining of authority through free agency..many competitions are populated with sub-standard players who wouldn't make national duty but are needed to make up numbers...the West Indies pitches last tour were fast spinning wickets,a far cry from the speedy wickets of the WI heyday..the introduction of the law allowing a bent elbow has validated what was considered for 120 years to be throwing.I deplore its existence.

Posted by rsgarcia on (October 10, 2012, 12:51 GMT)

I agree, @Marcio, you 'd make a great politician. That's one way to look at two drawn series. I guess you must be commended for being ranked how much higher than us and not being able to win two series. And of course, according to your recent postings, Aus finishing 3rd or fourth is better than Windies winning because Windies got lucky, while Aus were a mighty team who just happened to lose one game that mattered. And you accuse others of being myopic? All I can say is, you know it rains in England, so you should know it's been dry in the subcontinent since before you were a thought in your parents head. The tracks there are conducive to spin, and neither the subcontinent nor the Caribbean can change the reality of their environment, anymore than England can change swing pitches, or Aus dry out theirs. I repeat--you can stop whining or you can adapt. Makes no nevermind to the rest of us.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
Tournament Results
Sri Lanka v West Indies at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 7, 2012
West Indies won by 36 runs
Australia v West Indies at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 5, 2012
West Indies won by 74 runs
Sri Lanka v Pakistan at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 4, 2012
Sri Lanka won by 16 runs
India v South Africa at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 2, 2012
India won by 1 run
Australia v Pakistan at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 2, 2012
Pakistan won by 32 runs
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