India v Australia, 3rd ODI, Mohali October 18, 2013

No motivation for bowlers - Bailey

ESPNcricinfo staff

George Bailey, the Australia captain, wonders what motivates bowlers on the batting-friendly pitches of India but feels that also renders a tour of the country daunting for sides like his. Australia racked up 359 in the second ODI in Jaipur, only to watch India run it down in 43.3 overs for the loss of one wicket, making it the second-highest successful chase ever.

"The wickets we have played on have been very good batting wickets. It was very tough for the bowlers. It's hard to know what motivates bowlers on these wickets," Bailey said ahead of the third ODI in Mohali. "I would like to see a little bit more help for the bowlers if they bend their backs, and a little bit for the spinners.

"But that's how it is around the world, different conditions. That's how it is everywhere. But that's the beauty of the game around the world. That's what makes touring India such a challenge. That's what makes touring Australia such a challenge for India. Playing at Bellerive Oval compared to the WACA is so different. It would be boring if every wicket was the same. It would be boring if every wicket was flat. It would be boring if every wicket helped pacers or spinners."

Bailey felt the Mohali pitch would not be as flat as the Jaipur one, and said Australia would not mind using the short ball again if the conditions helped them. "It's a matter of summing up the conditions. If the wicket here has some pace and bounce and the boundaries being slightly longer around the squares, it could be something we will explore. But all players are good if they know what to expect, so it's a matter of not getting too predictable."

Bailey backed his bowlers, saying one bad game did not warrant changes, but admitted Australia were considering bringing in Nathan Coulter-Nile. "Yeah, we'll think about Nathan. A little bit of extra pace, a little bit of shape with the new ball… outstanding fielder, good striker of the ball near the end. So he is in the all-rounder category… I think all three guys we have on stand-by should be ready. The beauty of those guys is how ready they are to play whatever their roles might be."

The introduction of a new ball at each end in ODIs has largely taken away reverse swing as a weapon for bowlers towards the end of an innings. Bailey, however, said he liked the ruling, saying it had made things harder for batsmen at the start. "I enjoy it actually. When it first came out, I thought scores would go through the roof. What we have seen is that bowlers have adapted pretty well. England's a good example of how we had to work pretty hard to get through the first 10-15 overs without losing too many wickets. Then if you can reach the back-end, the ball tends to be a bit harder for the batsmen to cash in."

Australia have been getting through the new balls without damage so far on the tour, with Aaron Finch and Phillip Hughes putting on strong opening partnerships in both ODIs. Bailey said that had allowed the middle order to take on the India spinners with more confidence, but denied Australia had a plan to particularly attack the lead spinner R Ashwin, who's gone for 105 in 18 overs. "I don't think we targeted him specifically.

"The guys, especially the right-handers, were comfortable facing him. It wasn't a strategy to go after him. There wasn't much turn on the wicket. But it wasn't like targeting one specific bowler. The key for us really is that we have had good opening partnerships that have given us a good platform. Not losing early wickets has helped the middle order so we have been able to play with a little bit of freedom."

Which is why Bailey also ruled out a return for Watson to the top of the order, saying his presence at No. 3 was important to tackle the spinners. "At the moment it's working very well for us and I don't think there's any need to change it. His versatility there in terms of how well he plays spin… we saw that the other day when he walked in and faced the spinners, he put them on the back foot. It's really important for us if he can bat at No. 3 and get into the middle order a bit."

The disciplinary issues that had plagued Watson and Australia's Test tour of India earlier this year were done and buried, Bailey insisted. "I think he is [over it]. It's a long way in the past. It's been so many months now and he has been at home. It really is a long time back. I have been very impressed by his energy in training."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • bharath74 on October 19, 2013, 9:40 GMT

    I think Bailey is a better captain than micheal clark

  • ian on October 19, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    Let's get things straight - back to fundamentals - cricket is a game which was designed to be a faircontest between bat & ball. It was never meant to be a fairground show in which the balls delivered were to be devalued to very-hittable fodder and not-quite-so-hittable fodder, with the idea of actually dismissing a batsman being something delusional, belonging to another age. On this basis, format cricket has lost the plot. The whole process is exaggerated by the monster bats with edges (sorry, sides!) now half the width of the blade & boundaries pathetically and inadequately short. I am not pointing the finger at any particular country; they're all guilty of betraying the fundamental idea of a genuine contest. It is time for the game's legislators (i.e. the game's guardians) to limit the overall dimensions of the bat, not just the length & width of the blade. Ultimately, the cricket that is served up is pap and for those who recall what cricket is meant to be, unwatchable.

  • Rob on October 19, 2013, 7:08 GMT

    George Bailey attends a press conference and he is expected to comment on something, anything. Apart from this - everything else is pointless. India isn't the only place where 300+ scores have been logged. Wasn't it the pace paradise of SA where 400 odd runs were scored by two sides? What about the 2003 world cup final in SA or the recent Hobart ODI between India and Sri Lanka? Fact of the matter is that both the teams have especially mediocre bowlers who need specific conditions to suit their bowling. Australia will do well to call the current English bowlers to share tips on how to be effective in Indian conditions.

  • Suraj on October 19, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Its funny that runs scored by India are discounted in tests, because they are on low/flat wickets - not withstanding the fact that the touring teams usually struggle while Indian batsmen prosper on the same wickets, IndvsAus series this year is a case in point, not sure how Pujara, Kohli, Vijay and Dhawan scored centuries after centuries on rank turners while none of the Australian batsmen were able to get off the mark! Would be interested to see how @Mitty2 responds to this....

  • James on October 19, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    @Mitty2: One can reverse the argument and say that on Indian pitches- which took spin from day one, the Australian spinners were not particularly effective, and the Indian batsmen scored more runs. The problem here is not just with the pitches. The batsmen from both countries are not able to adapt to new conditions, and same with the bowlers. On similar Indian pitches, Panesar and Anderson and Pieterson were fairly effective and so were Amla and Steyn. On similar pitches, Hayden had -not very long ago- massacred Indian bowlers. So its also a matter of adaptability and quality.

  • Bob on October 19, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    Question... who are the most revered men in Indian cricket.. You can start with Tendulkar and move on down the list from there.. How many bowlers would you find in the top twenty ? That says it all about Indian pitches.

  • Dummy4 on October 19, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    rather than playing on a flat track,they should prepare competitive pitches,but BCCI and respective state cricket association preparing pitches which are more helfull to their batsman. Can Rohit bat same in Sydney and Melbourne as he did in Jaipur??? absolutely no!!!! Just to keep no 1 ODI team position with them ,they are preparing tracks which suits their batsman(as India strength is batting).

  • Dummy4 on October 19, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    nathan counternile: I like what bailey is thinking. Bring some bowlers with raw pace back. The middle order isn't comfortable against short ball so bring bowlers that are fast. Remember win against SA in England in CT, there was no morkel and steyn. The SA pace attack only bowled at 130k's and the wicket was flat.

  • Michael on October 19, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    @Max are so spot on, there is nothing more boring than watching cricket in any form played in India. No wonder nobody aspires to be a bowler in India with the flat dead pitches they have to bowl on. I'm sure if the Indians didn't control world cricket, the ICC would have enforced certain standards for all International wickets to make them more fair between batsman and bowler. How many great Indian pace bowlers of note has there been in the past 40 years.........Kapil Dev thats it ! And that tells you a lot about India and its pitches.

  • Govind on October 19, 2013, 2:44 GMT

    Bring on Pravin Tambe, a leg spinner from Rajastan Royal team. He was quite successful against many Austrailian players in CLT.

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