Bailey has settled well as leader - Maxwell
Bailey, Australia's T20 captain, stepped in as the ODI leader for the tour of India after Clarke was ruled out due to a chronic back problem. The selectors had wanted Clarke to recover in time for the upcoming Ashes. Bailey had captained Australia in the bilateral ODI series against Sri Lanka earlier this year and the recent Champions Trophy.
"George has obviously been an excellent captain for Tasmania back home and he's done very well," Maxwell said. "He's won tournaments for them and he's brought that straight into Australia. He's a very confident captain. He's always very upbeat out in the field. He's good to talk to with the bowlers. He's very calm. And especially when he's making runs, he's been such a consistent performer over the last 18 months.
"It's great to have him doing well at the top and being one of our best performers, not just our skipper. He's been brilliant for the group and has really settled into Pup's [Clarke] shoes quickly. As much as we're going to welcome Pup back, it's been great to have Bails as skipper for this series."
In the series against India, Bailey has emerged as the highest run-scorer for Australia after three matches, scoring 220 runs at an average of 110. His unbeaten 92 in the second ODI in Jaipur helped Australia amass 359 for 5, although they were beaten by India in that game.
Australia's innings in the second ODI was also the first instance of the top five batsmen in a side scoring half-centuries. Australia have put up 300+ scores in all three ODIs so far, but none of their batsmen have managed a century, compared to the three scored by Indian batsmen. Maxwell did not express concern over the statistic and stressed that it was an example of how well the team was playing as a unit.
"Even though no one has got a hundred yet, everyone has played pretty well," he said. "All the batters are in good form and have scored runs through the series. It's not a big concern. The guys obviously want to post three figures but even if they're not, and we're getting the job done, I think we're very happy with the way we're going. The game when we had 360 chased down, no one made 100. Our top five made fifties and that's the first time in cricket history that's happened. I don't think we're too worried about the triple-figure scores, as long as we keep getting over that 300 barrier and keep posting big totals."
Maxwell has had a quiet series so far, scoring 87 runs in three matches at an average of 29, but said he had improved as a batsman following a successful tour of South Africa as part of the A team in July this year. In two unofficial Tests, Maxwell scored 172 runs at an average of 57.33, finishing as the third-highest run-scorer for Australia behind David Warner and Nic Maddinson. In the List A tri-series against India A and South Africa A, Maxwell scored 256 runs in five matches at an average of 64, finishing third among the run-scorers. The tour, he said, had given him a chance to work on his batting for an extended period.
"I think playing in South Africa for the A series over there helped my game a lot," Maxwell said. "We started off with a couple of four-dayers and I really worked hard on my game. The wickets were pretty favourable for batting, so it was good to spend a bit of time in the middle. Over the last couple of years, I haven't really spent a whole lot of time in the middle. I've gone in when we've needed to tee off at the end and play different roles. It was nice to work on my batting over there for an extended period of time."