March 14, 2014

George who?

He has been an Australian captain for more than two years but the ever-smiling George Bailey is yet to be fully embraced
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George Bailey: An Australian captain who often passes by unnoticed
George Bailey: An Australian captain who often passes by unnoticed © Getty Images

During Australia's World T20 campaign in 2012, George Bailey dined in the crab restaurant owned by Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. More than other slightly overpriced crab restaurants, this is a place of cricket. They don't hide who the owners are, and there are pictures of other cricketers around as well. The waiters also love cricket. They were very excited, as many famous current players and legendary ex-players had been in. They were keen on meeting more. The man who waited on George Bailey was a massive Cameron White fan. He spoke of how White used to be the Australian T20 captain. When asked who the current Australian captain was, he didn't know.

Bailey just sat there uncomfortably. With a slight smile.

****

The first ball of George Bailey's Test career at the Gabba was eased through mid-on. It was from Stuart Broad. There are far worse ways of starting your career than with an on-drive for three. Interestingly, it was an empty mid-on. From the start it seemed that England didn't rate him.

After that, every ball Bailey faced in that innings would be from James Anderson. He missed a bouncer, edged a length ball that didn't carry, and played and missed at an outswinger. During all of this, Jimmy spoke to Bailey. His famous sledging style: through his fingers. Bailey spoke back, and smiled.

Until he nicked off to Cook at slip. His feet set in stone. His hands looking for the ball, and his edge completing the wicket. He had made 3 and was Anderson's first wicket of the Ashes.

****

Bailey made an impact almost immediately in domestic cricket. Not completely as a batsman, but for his smile. He smiles a lot. There was an ad one year promoting the one-day tournament and in it was Mick Lewis, the grizzled Victorian quick, saying how much he hated George Bailey smiling. But despite the smile, and the obvious talent, Bailey never really pushed for higher honours.

If you saw him bat, it was strange. With no real follow-through, he could smoke the ball to the fence. Pace and spin didn't seem a problem. He could play on rough wickets. What he couldn't do was produce the sort of season that you need to get picked. Almost all Australian cricketers do it. A 1000-run season that makes everyone shout your name.

Bailey never went past 778, which he made in his second season.

In 50-overs cricket he was always pretty good, but never "lock up your daughters this guy is burning your world down" good. In T20 he was the same. He played for Scotland when they were in the English domestic cricket set-up. But it was only in 50-over games, and he didn't do enough to make a stir.

He also played in the IPL, for the best team, Chennai Super Kings. Many Australian players had made good reputations doing good things in the IPL. Bailey was there for four seasons. In that time Super Kings won two IPLs and were runners-up once. He played four games. His top score was 30.

There were no editorials written demanding his inclusion. He wasn't signing multi-million dollar deals. He just played a bit of cricket, mostly at home, and occasionally abroad.

****

After Mitchell Johnson's first innings at the Gabba, batting got easier. And Bailey had only one over from Anderson. Australia were well in front, Anderson was soon taken out of the attack, and instead Bailey faced Joe Root, Chris Tremlett and an out-of-sorts Graeme Swann.

Bailey reacted to this like a good team man. He smashed Root and Swann for sixes. He had not yet hit a four in Tests, but he did have two more sixes than Jonathan Trott. He was keen to show how much he had listened to instructions to attack the spinners, and that he could forget about putting a price on his wicket and just get Australia the runs they needed to declare. It was not always smooth but it was a positive sign.

That was until he looked like a badly programmed robot, playing up a line that Swann had not bowled. He was out for 34.

Tasmania made six finals under Bailey. They won three. For a state with no real record of prolonged success, and about 35 residents, it was a brilliant effort

****

In Ed Cowan's book, In the Firing Line (part diary, part bromance epic with Bailey), he wrote about a conversation that he and George had about the future after cricket. Both guys had got to around 30, felt a way away from playing for their country, and now had to think about the worst thing many professional cricketers fear - getting a real job.

There is good money in playing first-class cricket into your 30s, but you have to want it. You have to be prepared to get up early, train harder than the kids, prepare like a pro, knowing that your ultimate dream is gone. There are some players who play on without all this, but they are the obscenely talented. Bailey is good but not obscenely talented. A drop off in his work ethic could have meant he was no longer automatically picked, and even a career cashing in at the lower level may not have been available to him.

So when he chose to keep playing, it was because a part of him still believed. He was willing to keep working hard. He had won domestic titles. He had chased his dream professionally for over a decade, but when you are only one lucky phone call from playing for your country, it's a big call to become a schoolteacher or batting coach.

****

Neither of Bailey's Gabba innings made anywhere near the impact that his stoush with Anderson did. England had been placed inside a brass bull, the fire had been lit beneath it, and all that was left was the last screams as they roasted to death.

Australia pushed for the last wicket, but Anderson wasn't quite cooked. Just before the 80th over started - one where he faced up to Johnson from around the wicket in the "Imma gonna kill you" style - he was already on edge. While Johnson warmed up, it was clear that Anderson and Bailey were chatting, and that Anderson wasn't kidding around. He walked over to Bailey, standing tall above him, and nothing he said seemed like a John Keats poem. Politeness wasn't in evidence. Neither man even seemed to let the other finish a sentence.

Bailey smiled, Anderson scowled, the umpires walked in hurriedly, they used the international sign for calm down, and then everyone went back to their marks. Michael Clarke chatted within the stump mics' hearing range.

"Face up", said an aggressive Clarke.

"I'm quite happy to," said a passive-aggressive Anderson.

"Get ready for a broken f****** arm," said Clarke walking backwards knowing that one of the world's most dangerous bowlers was on his side.

George Bailey continued to smile. Anderson survived seven more balls.

****

If George Bailey wasn't a good captain, he probably would have been even less known. Bailey had inherited a decent side from Dan (son of Rod, not Geoff) Marsh. But he made it even better. Partly through building a team ethic, partly by smart recruiting. George was well known and well liked within Australian cricket. Anyone he thought could be good for his team turned up. Ed Cowan, Jackson Bird and Mark Cosgrove turned up. Armed with these three, two good allrounders, and a bunch of other quality bowlers, he built an empire on green tracks that he and the other batsmen tried to survive on.

They made six finals under Bailey. They won three. For a state with no real record of prolonged success, and about 35 residents, it was a brilliant effort. And when Australian cricket changed under the reign of John Inverarity, George Bailey was their sort of man.

He knew about things other than cricket. He could bring people together. He was calm. He was cool. He was worldly. He was a winner. And he was bright. Then he was Australia's first-ever captain who had not played for Australia before.

Even though it was the least important captaincy position, it painted a target on his back.

****

The score was 174 for 4 when Bailey appeared in Adelaide. He was dropped. He brought up his first Test fifty with a six off Broad. And continued to hit sixes.

When he came in, Australia were very nearly in danger of throwing away a huge advantage on a flat track, with their in-form captain at the other end. Bailey batted like a batsman without a care in the world. When England bowled a bad ball, he went after it. When they didn't, he just handled them fine. Bailey outscored his captain.

The ball made a good noise off his bat when he smacked it. He looked, for the first time, in complete control. He came down to the spinners on the odd occasion Monty Panesar wasn't bowling short. Even the chance he offered was relatively safe. He went down the wicket and smashed the ball at Panesar, who dropped it. If you're going to pick anyone, it should be Panesar.

His six off Broad to bring up his fifty wasn't just a six off Broad to bring up a fifty. It was a six off Broad, who was using the second new ball, to bring up a fifty. After that, Bailey resumed his battle with Anderson. It was an over where very little happened. The only question was what score Bailey would be not out on at close.

Then he middled another pull shot off Broad. This one went lower and Graeme Swann at square leg pulled off the sort of catch that gets you a lot of Youtube hits. Australia had recovered but were not yet out of the danger zone.

Brad Haddin would change that, and Bailey wouldn't bat in the second innings.

****

In 2013, Bailey did something that had a higher-profile player done it, would have been praised on talkback radio and in opinion pieces. He turned his back on the IPL and made an attempt to prove himself as a Test player.

He could have sat on the bench for Chennai Super Kings again, and then played another T20 league or two, made a fair bit of money, and had a bit of off time. Instead he chose to be in England, playing mostly red-ball cricket, as the Australian team was there for the Ashes.

It was a two-fold attack. It started as a way to prove he was actually committed to playing Test cricket. And by being in the UK, and already being an Australian ODI and T20 player, at worst he might have made the Test side. Hell, with Michael Clarke's back a shoelace tie away from breaking, Bailey could have even been a Test captain despite not even being in the original squad.

****

At the WACA it was noticeable that Jimmy Anderson bowled quicker to Bailey than he had before. Now it could have just been the imagination of a sportswriter looking for narrative, or the rhythm that a bowler can get into during the day, but Anderson bowled as quick in one over to Bailey as he had at any time in the series. But he didn't get him out.

It was Broad and the short ball that did it again. Bailey seemed intent on never taking a backward step, even when on the back foot. He wouldn't be bullied or bombed by England. So he tried to hook a short ball and found Pietersen, who did everything he could to make the catch look awkward.

Australia were in another hole, but Haddin mopped up again.

****

The ODI series in India was a coming-out party. Every six, and there were 15 of them, rang a bell, and with the next Ashes around the corner

Clarke's back didn't work at all for the Champions Trophy. So Bailey took over. He batted well, Australia played horribly, and it was suddenly clear, while many still didn't rate him, that he had somehow become Australia's most consistent ODI batsman.

With Clarke in London, and David Warner in trouble, it was Bailey who had to front the press. He did it well, while making it very clear he couldn't wait for Clarke to come back.

Clarke would come back, and would captain with no more real problems for his back, so Bailey was never needed as Test captain, or even Test squad member. Instead he came back for the ODIs at the end of the English summer, and made more runs. His batting average and ODI batting ranking were really high for someone whom no one ever seemed to talk up, or often even about.

****

The second innings at the WACA was brutal on England. They walked out knowing the series was gone. They fielded poorly, Broad was injured, Anderson looked over it, Swann was fading, and it was really very hot. Australia skipped joyfully to a declaration.

Bailey rejoined the fun when Australia were over 400 runs ahead. He sat at the other end while Shane Watson head-butted the English corpse for a hundred. Bailey didn't do much damage himself. After 24 balls he had hit one boundary (only a four) and was 11 not out.

Then he came back in touch with his old friend Anderson. What happened next seemed like it would break a few rules of the Geneva convention. Bailey tore up what was left of Anderson like he was made of tissue paper on a windy day.

When Bailey's boundary-hitting massacre finished, there was a puddle of blood at the top of the mark where Anderson had once stood. For Bailey, that over could not have come from a more perfect opponent.

****

George Bailey had some fun in India. 85, 92 not out, 43, 98, 156 and 4.

Flat pitches, an amazingly weak bowling attack, and small boundaries all helped Bailey average over 95 at a strike rate of 116. People had to write about it. They had to hype it. Well not even hype it, just report it accurately, and let people moan at the numbers.

This wasn't another series, this was a coming-out party. Every six, and there were 15 of them, rang a bell, and with the next Ashes around the corner, and a batting spot available for anyone who wanted it, Bailey had made it very clear that he wanted it.

The press could have looked at it from a detailed and analytical standpoint. Bailey had played very well in ODIs in England and India, and he was clearly seeing the ball amazingly, but how was his red-ball form? Had he made any runs playing for Hampshire in county cricket, or any runs for Tasmania in last year's Sheffield Shield?

Who cares? Look at his hitting in Mohali.

The selectors and fans seemed to do the same. Very few seemed to notice, worry or bother with the fact he hadn't made a first-class hundred since February 2012.

Bailey was selected with as much fanfare as a six at a Big Bash game. He had been noticed, and embraced.

****

Bailey faced 18 balls at the MCG. He was at the wicket with his team in trouble. The ball was reversing. This wasn't the time to attempt to beat his world- record overs tally efforts of the WACA. This was the time for survival.

Straight dead bats. Grim determination. Last-minute adjustments. Small backlifts. Sure movements.

That was surely the plan. But Bailey was uneasy. One leave almost ended with him caught at slip, and then run out in the confusion. A huge leg-before shout from Broad was turned down because of a small inside edge. It was nervy, and nasty, and then Bailey found himself at Anderson's end.

In the first over Anderson found a spot and just kept at it. The first four balls landed within six inches of each other. Three of them seemed to hit the exact same spot. The reverse was not deadly, it was just there. Even the smallest hint of reverse from a decent bowler can upset an Australian batsman more than most. But the second over at Bailey, now that was Anderson the chessmaster.

The seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth balls from Anderson to Bailey were all on or about the same line and length. He was keeping him on the crease, not letting him really come forward or back. None had big movement. None was meant to. They were about getting him used to the ball coming in at him from that line and length.

The 11th ball kept the same length. But it was six inches wider than the others. It was supposed to be wider, because it also went wider through reverse movement.

Had No. 11 kept its line, Bailey might have used the width to hit it for four. He certainly saw it as the weakest ball he faced. But it didn't, it was a trap. And Bailey, who had not scored after being out there for several overs, didn't see it and went for it.

England were convinced Bailey hit it. Aleem Dar wasn't. The evidence was far from conclusive. But the dismissal had passed enough protocols for the third umpire to decide that it was out. It's possible Bailey didn't hit it. It's not possible Anderson didn't completely fox him.

Bailey was not needed for the second innings.

****

In Sydney, Bailey wasn't just fighting Anderson and England. Another foe joined in.

There had been history between Bailey and Channel Nine. When Bailey was filling in as captain of the Australian ODI team the previous summer, he had been involved in a weird media event. Channel Nine had been bemoaning Australia resting of key players (informed player management, they call it). When Bailey was asked about it, he put a spin on the fact that Channel Nine were currently in negotiations with Cricket Australia about paying for rights, and that it may be in their interests to downplay the worth of one-dayers.

That prompted a bizarre response from Brad McNamara, Channel Nine's executive producer of cricket. "It's rubbish and George should stick to playing cricket and leave rights to the people who know what they're talking about. I reckon he's got his hands full as it is. He needs to concentrate on staying in the side. And he needs to understand where his money's coming from. Without the TV rights deal, George is probably working in a coal mine or flipping burgers at McDonald's."

He was everything old-school cricket didn't like. A thinking cricketer who had never demanded inclusion, but who had been included regardless

McNamara was rightfully laughed at for his comments.

These comments were brought up a fair bit when Bailey failed to make a fifty in two attempts in Sydney. Mostly because it seemed that no one in the Channel Nine box could make a comment about him that wasn't negative. His feet, hands, technique and temperament were questioned. His second-innings 46 was not enough. And they weren't always wrong. It just seemed kind of mean. Especially when at the back of the press box some seemed happy when he was out.

But it went deeper than McNamara's comments. Bailey had made mistakes in his career. He hadn't made enough first-class runs. He hadn't come into the team as a young man. He came into the captaincy without playing a game. He came into the Test team because of one-day runs. He was everything old-school cricket didn't like. A thinking cricketer who had never demanded inclusion, but who had been included regardless.

For old-school types like Ian Chappell, he was pretty much everything he didn't like. And Chappell wasn't just turning on Bailey because of his stoush with Channel Nine. He had not liked Bailey for a long time.

To show how Bailey never fit in, there is no better article than the one by former good old boy larrikin Aussie cricketer (briefly) Brett Geeves for Inside Cricket. In it, Geeves listed the many reasons why Bailey was not a good captain. And the piece would have had more relevance had Bailey not captained the reigning winning Sheffield Shield team when the piece was published.

****

Before his fourth Test, Bailey stood outside the MCG doing an interview. He stood there for a long time, and because of the cameras and the familiar Australia tracksuit, a crowd turned up. But it wasn't until the interviewer said, "Thanks George" that most of the crowd realised who it was.

At that stage, he had been an Australian captain for two years. He had played three Ashes Tests, all won. He had fought with Anderson. But he was still not really known. Not embraced. Still invisible. After Sydney, he wasn't really dropped, just not picked for the next series. Just sort of faded away.

At a press conference afterwards he didn't complain, or rant. He just took the decision with a slight smile. And then left.

Jarrod Kimber was 50% of the Two Chucks, and is the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on March 19, 2014, 23:22 GMT

    Jarrod: Can you explore a AUS vs Rest of the Word Test Match next Boxing day (2014) in AUS? I want AUS to defeat ROW by an innings with Mitch Johnston taking 10+ wickets. I will travel to AUS from Dacca. I do not care for cricket unless it is AUS playing SA or ENG with Johnson coming into bowl. Let us have PAK, IND, etc. play T-20. Create 2 classes of cricket: Test only for AUS, SA, and ENG. Rest for others. Jarrod: Can you help?

  • ScottStevo on March 17, 2014, 19:37 GMT

    @Ramanujan Sridhar, odd that you answered your own ridiculous question? You state we don't like him because he conveys a "clean" image, yet go on to ponder what might be if he'd manage to score a few runs! There it is, pal. If he scored more runs, he'd be in the team - regardless of his personality. Much in the same way that Kohli, despite his rather despicable and appalling behaviour, is in the Indian side as he scores enough runs to retain a spot...

  • Vishnu27 on March 17, 2014, 1:52 GMT

    Hello13: that is an absurd & ridiculous statement. You have absolutely no idea about Australia. None whatsoever. Please keep your narrow mind to yourself

  • caldruid on March 15, 2014, 18:59 GMT

    Bailey is a good player. No evident chip on his shoulder or brash behavior seen. He is one of the few aussie players that one can admire.

  • on March 15, 2014, 15:35 GMT

    He is a wonderful team man. Why Australia dont like him he is because he is decent, a gentleman, who smiles and plays well in the shorter format. If he only made runs, he deserves to be Australila"s future captain. he is a thinking cicketer and a great motivator. He did really well in India and almost snared the lion in its den without Clarke, Warner etc. I like him. I wish australia would recognize his worth and what about T2o, he has led australia to more successes than the others.

  • Meety on March 15, 2014, 12:17 GMT

    Yeah - still hasnt set the world on fire, but the way he smacked Swanny around, I think that he may be a good option in UAE. I am saying that even though Ajmal is a completely different spinner to what Swann was.

  • naamprik on March 15, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    Great article Jarrod. It's nice to read something thoughtful on cricket and especially on such an underrated Australian cricketer like George Bailey. A refreshing change from the "things were better when we played" drivel from Boycs and Chappeli. Bailey is the quite achiever type that doesn't rate highly among the more chauvinistic Australians. Even when they give him a team of players that are not in the best form or not being rested, he never complains, just smiles and makes do. Wouldn't it be nice if more cricketers were like that. Cricket Australia needs to use George with the young players, to teach them that a calm manner can be even more successful than the tedious aggression that we usually get. Thanks again Jarrod.

  • OneEyedAussie on March 15, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    I become confused when people try to defend Bailey by citing conspiracy theories - "we don't like him because he smiles too much", "he's too smart" and etc. The fact is nobody is questioning his place in short form cricket right now...why? Because he's racked up the runs consistently over a long period of time and in different conditions. He got dropped from the test team because he passed fifty only once in eight innings against a demoralised opponent at home.

  • NP_NY on March 15, 2014, 5:52 GMT

    Bailey seems like a no-fuss cricket-only man like Mike Hussey although not as effective. His fighting spriti is very Australian, but the fact that he doesn't talk a big game, doesn't sledge much and has a constant smile on his face makes him a bit unAustralian too. The latter could be perceived as not being tough enough by some of the other Australians (teammates, media, fans) and maybe that is why he is not yet fully embraced by them.

  • AussiePhoenix on March 15, 2014, 5:14 GMT

    Oh, and McNamara - are you going to flip a burger when George helps us win the WC?

  • on March 19, 2014, 23:22 GMT

    Jarrod: Can you explore a AUS vs Rest of the Word Test Match next Boxing day (2014) in AUS? I want AUS to defeat ROW by an innings with Mitch Johnston taking 10+ wickets. I will travel to AUS from Dacca. I do not care for cricket unless it is AUS playing SA or ENG with Johnson coming into bowl. Let us have PAK, IND, etc. play T-20. Create 2 classes of cricket: Test only for AUS, SA, and ENG. Rest for others. Jarrod: Can you help?

  • ScottStevo on March 17, 2014, 19:37 GMT

    @Ramanujan Sridhar, odd that you answered your own ridiculous question? You state we don't like him because he conveys a "clean" image, yet go on to ponder what might be if he'd manage to score a few runs! There it is, pal. If he scored more runs, he'd be in the team - regardless of his personality. Much in the same way that Kohli, despite his rather despicable and appalling behaviour, is in the Indian side as he scores enough runs to retain a spot...

  • Vishnu27 on March 17, 2014, 1:52 GMT

    Hello13: that is an absurd & ridiculous statement. You have absolutely no idea about Australia. None whatsoever. Please keep your narrow mind to yourself

  • caldruid on March 15, 2014, 18:59 GMT

    Bailey is a good player. No evident chip on his shoulder or brash behavior seen. He is one of the few aussie players that one can admire.

  • on March 15, 2014, 15:35 GMT

    He is a wonderful team man. Why Australia dont like him he is because he is decent, a gentleman, who smiles and plays well in the shorter format. If he only made runs, he deserves to be Australila"s future captain. he is a thinking cicketer and a great motivator. He did really well in India and almost snared the lion in its den without Clarke, Warner etc. I like him. I wish australia would recognize his worth and what about T2o, he has led australia to more successes than the others.

  • Meety on March 15, 2014, 12:17 GMT

    Yeah - still hasnt set the world on fire, but the way he smacked Swanny around, I think that he may be a good option in UAE. I am saying that even though Ajmal is a completely different spinner to what Swann was.

  • naamprik on March 15, 2014, 10:14 GMT

    Great article Jarrod. It's nice to read something thoughtful on cricket and especially on such an underrated Australian cricketer like George Bailey. A refreshing change from the "things were better when we played" drivel from Boycs and Chappeli. Bailey is the quite achiever type that doesn't rate highly among the more chauvinistic Australians. Even when they give him a team of players that are not in the best form or not being rested, he never complains, just smiles and makes do. Wouldn't it be nice if more cricketers were like that. Cricket Australia needs to use George with the young players, to teach them that a calm manner can be even more successful than the tedious aggression that we usually get. Thanks again Jarrod.

  • OneEyedAussie on March 15, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    I become confused when people try to defend Bailey by citing conspiracy theories - "we don't like him because he smiles too much", "he's too smart" and etc. The fact is nobody is questioning his place in short form cricket right now...why? Because he's racked up the runs consistently over a long period of time and in different conditions. He got dropped from the test team because he passed fifty only once in eight innings against a demoralised opponent at home.

  • NP_NY on March 15, 2014, 5:52 GMT

    Bailey seems like a no-fuss cricket-only man like Mike Hussey although not as effective. His fighting spriti is very Australian, but the fact that he doesn't talk a big game, doesn't sledge much and has a constant smile on his face makes him a bit unAustralian too. The latter could be perceived as not being tough enough by some of the other Australians (teammates, media, fans) and maybe that is why he is not yet fully embraced by them.

  • AussiePhoenix on March 15, 2014, 5:14 GMT

    Oh, and McNamara - are you going to flip a burger when George helps us win the WC?

  • AussiePhoenix on March 15, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    @ Ross_Co Great point about the catches. That series whitewash was very much a team performance, whilst George didn't set the bat on fire his moments did contribute. And most importantly his nature and leadership (not taking a backward step to sledging from bowlers who were beating him) showed the team how to stay calm and confident. That is what made the win possible. @ Matt.au, you are wrong. George may have had a tough time in SA, or he may have improved, we'll just never know. Which is why if the right spot opens up, he is worth giving another opportunity. He plays for the team, the guys on the field, not himself. Anyone who has the balls to call Channel 9 on their money politics at a press conference has my vote.

  • on March 15, 2014, 2:24 GMT

    wouldnt be surprised if he captains Australia to the t20 worldcup and the 50 Over worldcup next year...

  • Hello13 on March 15, 2014, 0:06 GMT

    He seems like a decent guy. It's why the Australian public dont like him, they want their players to behave in a disgusting way, like Warner et al.

  • C.Gull on March 14, 2014, 23:39 GMT

    The problem with Channel 9 is it's a combination of old schoolers and a newer bunch who are not chosen for their brains (there are one or two exceptions but their voices are drowned out). It's shameful that this bunch of chip-carriers and yobbos are able to exert an influence. The ABC Grandstand bunch are infinitely preferable - and it's no surprise Jarrod has joined them! Thanks for this well due portrait of GB, the kind of guy the thinking cricket fan can appreciate.

  • on March 14, 2014, 21:02 GMT

    I think the value he brought to the team was huge. At one point there was a point of stagnancy in australian cricket, there is only one captain clarke to look at, all the stalwarts losing their powers and there is a crisis within the team, with ego clashes between their top batsman and the highly rated captain running.....what not...everything you dont want within ur team. from that point to now there is a very big role of this man in transformation. kudos bailey!!!!!

  • on March 14, 2014, 19:42 GMT

    Awesome article. Loved reading every tidbit (in fact i went though most, if not all, of the links too).

  • Rajdeepgupta on March 14, 2014, 17:23 GMT

    Bailey deserves a pat on the back whenever his side needed him. In Clarke's absence he really led the side well. Always nice to see a player with a smile.

  • on March 14, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    Loved the way the character builds up. Awesome take on a player who deserves little more

  • Ross_Co on March 14, 2014, 16:05 GMT

    Good article. Hadn't realised the Channel 9 angle. I thought Bailey should have gone to SA & still think he deserves more chances. He played for the team & took 10 catches in 5 tests. Could do a lot worse - a lot worse.

  • BD_Cricket_Lover on March 14, 2014, 15:56 GMT

    @lian_14 i agree with you.I think hes still new to test cricket and he is working hard he said that himself.Im really a fan of bailey,his hitting and his smile which is really nice to see.When he was the ttwenty captain of Aus i didnt know him but when i have he really surprised me.If a batsman is good for at least 2 formats of the game,to me he is a good batsman.I dont know if you have seen this guy but look at a young bangladeshi cricketer named mominul he is a really good test and ODI batsman.He bats at 3 or 4 in tests and ODIs but in ttwenty he bats at 7 or 6 but even if he is bad at ttwenty doesnty make him a bad cricketer.Almost same with Bailey only different formats,maybe they both cant be legendary cricketer like Sachin Tendulker or Brain Lara but they are good batsman.If you can only play one format then your an average batsman and if you cant play any formats then your no batsman at all.i hope i have helped prove a point.

  • maganty on March 14, 2014, 15:05 GMT

    Wow Jarrod, that line at the end there, "...sort of faded away". Powerful stuff. Felt a twinge of emotion at that. Let's just hope it isn't the case.

  • on March 14, 2014, 14:10 GMT

    Well a bit too long but Bailey sure deserves one like this!

  • on March 14, 2014, 13:50 GMT

    Who cares if he's not much of a test batsman, really? There's plenty that don't cut it on that front. He is a very good white ball cricketer, if not an outstaning one. Kind of like a modern day Michael Bevan with the added bonus of excellent management skills. Overall he is a huge player in the Aus cricketing set-up and his standing will only grow, I believe. Hope he can lead us to a T20 trophy starting in a few days, won't be too many trophies that aren't in our posession if we can grab that one!

  • lian_14 on March 14, 2014, 12:52 GMT

    I personally like George. From the moment he debuted as captain, he has copped his fair share of criticism (quite unfairly, in my opinion). But through these adversities, what really shone through was the man himself; a cool, composed and ever-smiling cricketer, who's refreshingly articulate and thoughtful in speech and ultimately a great team player.

    He's a valuable middle-order batsman, and has on numerous occasions saved Australia from embarrassment in ODIs when the top order had collapsed. Sure he doesn't have the perfect technique, and he himself has stated that he might not look pretty as a cricketer, but I find his cool temperament at the crease and his ability to read game situations invaluable, especially during these collapses.

    And that is why I find it especially annoying that critics continually resort to the Ashes to put down what George has done during his time in the Australian line-up; not just batting and leadership wise, but his overall presence in the change room.

  • Matt.au on March 14, 2014, 12:32 GMT

    George has a (well written about), nice smile and is a (well written about) good bloke. Fortunately, it is runs scored, that keeps you in the Australian test team - even if that wasn't true of how George initially got into the Australian team. OK, recent runs on flat decks in India against a popgun attack but certainly not first class runs.

    It has been proven by George himself he isn't up to test cricket. Dis-regarding his test average of 26, his first class average after 184 innings is 36 and not getting any better.

    Jarrod described how Anderson worked over George. It was not going to get easier for George if he went to SA and faced a bowler doing the same to him but 20 clicks an hour faster.

    I think a lot of first class players around the country think George has been given a more than fair go in Australian colours. A fair go, probably undeserved.

    I'm happy for George to be included in T20 and ODI's. George should not ever be selected in the test team again though.

  • on March 14, 2014, 12:13 GMT

    he is quite similar to now former rsa capitan Greame Smith..,

  • Prats6 on March 14, 2014, 11:49 GMT

    I don't know one person who does not like George. His smile is infectious! I'd have him at No.6 for Australia any day. In ODIs I'd prefer him to be the skipper. He is very astute and has a very good cricket brain.

  • TheCricketEmpireStrikesBack on March 14, 2014, 11:42 GMT

    Well I certainly know who George Bailey is. Baliey's winning captaincy record at state and international level speaks for itself and in a Twitter age obsessed with "celebrity" he is living proof of that it is leadership and quality that win cricket matches and not fame. After all, the recent 5-0 Ashes caning was as much about a leadership differential as anything else.

  • izzidole on March 14, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    I don't know why many cricket fans don't think high of George Bailey. Probably he smiles all the time and nobody seems to take him seriously. He would have been a better option than Marsh or Dooley for the series against South Africa. He was very unlucky to miss out. It is very exciting to watch him bat as he dispatches the ball to the boundary with effortless ease. His strokes to and over the boundary is exquisite. Whatever the state of the game he always delivers and scores briskly. In the third and final test against South Africa when Clarke wanted to score quick runs for a declaration after lunch Bailey would have been the ideal partner for Warner instead of Doolan who was always going to struggle to score quick runs. I remember the 28 runs Bailey scored in an over off Anderson in the third test in the last ashes series when quick runs were needed for a declaratin. Despite the frequent changes the number 3 and 4 positions in the aussie batting lineup looks very vulnerable.

  • GoCho on March 14, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    he is a 6-hitting version of Michael Bevan. Not as a finisher, but in terms of contribution to limited overs cricket vs test cricket. The sooner CA and GB himself realise it, the better. He will lead Aus to a WC win one day, mark my words!

  • smudgeon on March 14, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    I always felt that the idea of George being captain of the Australian T20 side was to try and pull it into a formidable team. Australia - at least prior to the BBL - has long regarded T20 as akin to backyard cricket, hence the listless performances of the national T20 side and puzzling selection choices. I think there was a point not so long ago that Ireland were ranked above them (no disrespect intended to Ireland). To me, picking a captain with the intelligence, nous, media-savviness and leadership qualities of George Bailey was an attempt to turn that all around. The fact that George smiles a lot is a bonus. Looking forward to seeing how he leads the team in the upcoming T20 WC.

  • Fareen on March 14, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    I'm sorry, but how exactly can people judge him with only 5 Ashes test matches? He was Australia's captain at their most difficult time, he handled all the off-field incidents very professionally, and obviously performed well both as a captain and a batsman. Additionally, whenever Clarke was absent due to injury, he led his team exceptionally well. I for one think he needs to be provided couple more opportunities in test cricket. He's a much better batsman than both Doolan and Marsh and Watson being so injury-prone, he should be in contention. Also I don't think there's an Aussie batsman with such temperament. Lastly, in relation to Chappell's comments, he never gets one right about a player. I remember couple of cricinfo articles of him pleading Dravid, Ganguly and ponting to retire and all three came back to make centuries afterwards. Great players don't make great analysts.

  • twistatwistaa on March 14, 2014, 9:02 GMT

    i am from india and a big fan or george bailey he also deserves his place in a test squad at number 3 instead of shaun marsh and doolan hope aussies dont waste his talent like they did with hodge in ashes he was batted down the order he needs to be there at number 3

  • Cricket_Anonymous on March 14, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    Nice. I'll be smiling all day today.

  • Jagger on March 14, 2014, 7:41 GMT

    Honestly, I won't be reading about George. He, like Watson, has had a privileged run at it and as far as I can see that was all based upon potential that will never be realised. When you look back and see Waugh and Taylor in between Border and the Chappells and consider what a captain Warnie would have been, it is clear why Bailey does not register He is not anywhere near those. Like everything Anderson does it's all about the mighty dollar. Sponsorship. He's a politicians bean counter. He got roped into that drugs in sport fiasco (what a disgrace that was) in which Gillard successfully trashed Aussie sport in an attempt to save her own career which was already in the toilet. What a fool. Enough of the PC politicking, Ando. It's alright to upset the peanut gallery once in a while. Respect the institutions of our culture and our way of life. The captaincy was sacred and now you've made it willy nilly.

  • xtrafalgarx on March 14, 2014, 7:35 GMT

    I don't see how GB is looked down upon. His teammates love him, and he has a lot of fans. Stop looking down upon him, he is as good a limited overs batter as there is in the world at the moment.

  • RD_INDIAN on March 14, 2014, 6:36 GMT

    Nice article but george hasnt proved himself to pay the long innings when the team is in trouble. To be frank havent seen a lot of him so might have missed tht innings. Aussies are known fr their aggression maybe showing a little more on the field might gain him acceptance but why should he change his attitude jst to be accepted? Jst needs to work harder to get into the team. From wht i have seen a decent batsman.

  • MariusPontmercy94 on March 14, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    I like George Bailey. With regards to his place in the Test side, though, I wouldn't have him in there as a walk-up start, but I'd put him in there when (not if) something happened to Shane Watson, and I'd have him play that Adam Gilchrist-esque role of the middle-to-lower order batsman who just comes out and throws the bat at everything. After all, that seems to be what he does best.

    The problem with Bailey is that he seems to be most comfortable when playing ODI's, cricket's neglected middle child. However, even if he's not making runs, I'd have him in the limited overs side every single time just for his leadership and fielding.

  • Biggus on March 14, 2014, 6:15 GMT

    Nothing wrong with George Bailey in our eyes. We would have hoped that he'd worked out test-wise but he didn't and we always knew it was a gamble to select a guy for tests on the basis of T20 and ODI form. As for his captaincy of the T20 side being largely unlauded, well that's due to our attitude vis-a-vis T20. He's captain of the silly team, and that's just the way it is. As a person I think he's pretty well liked and respected all round. Just a shame the test business hasn't worked out.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on March 14, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    irrelevant article on a mediocre but lucky player

  • on March 14, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    He has been very reliable,effective and fighter captain who does his work quietly. I became fan of him during Ind-Aus ODI series. Given the rise of Aus fortunes in test cricket , it will be very difficult for him to claim spot again but he would be an asset in any shorter version of the game. I wish him well. - Indian Fan.

  • on March 14, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    I have to disagree slightly here, but not on a factual basis i guess, just a perceptual one. among people i know who play and follow cricket, and even a few who don't, george bailey was instantly recognisable after that odi series in india. id say 70% of the people i know would have recognised pretty quickly. again, this isn't pointing out a factual error; the author could well have moved in different circles, but i do think it's a tad inaccurate to suggest that this is how it was throughout the country.

    and another thing; i seem to remember a lot of the media around his selection contained mentions of bailey's poorer red-ball, first-class record. sorry to nitpick, but it is important to not exaggerate these things, intentionally or not

  • PrasPunter on March 14, 2014, 5:04 GMT

    @morgan_gibson87 , as much as we all love Bails, his run of scores in the Ashes series didn't warrant a place. Unfortunately, in a competitive world, numbers matter the most.

  • JoshFromJamRock on March 14, 2014, 4:02 GMT

    Great article....my eyes are paining me though *quints tightly*

  • morgan_gibson87 on March 14, 2014, 3:49 GMT

    One of my favourite cricketers insofar as he is intelligent, forthright and opinionated (while being well informed, logical, rational and reasonable). A pity he never quite secured a place in the test side!

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  • morgan_gibson87 on March 14, 2014, 3:49 GMT

    One of my favourite cricketers insofar as he is intelligent, forthright and opinionated (while being well informed, logical, rational and reasonable). A pity he never quite secured a place in the test side!

  • JoshFromJamRock on March 14, 2014, 4:02 GMT

    Great article....my eyes are paining me though *quints tightly*

  • PrasPunter on March 14, 2014, 5:04 GMT

    @morgan_gibson87 , as much as we all love Bails, his run of scores in the Ashes series didn't warrant a place. Unfortunately, in a competitive world, numbers matter the most.

  • on March 14, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    I have to disagree slightly here, but not on a factual basis i guess, just a perceptual one. among people i know who play and follow cricket, and even a few who don't, george bailey was instantly recognisable after that odi series in india. id say 70% of the people i know would have recognised pretty quickly. again, this isn't pointing out a factual error; the author could well have moved in different circles, but i do think it's a tad inaccurate to suggest that this is how it was throughout the country.

    and another thing; i seem to remember a lot of the media around his selection contained mentions of bailey's poorer red-ball, first-class record. sorry to nitpick, but it is important to not exaggerate these things, intentionally or not

  • on March 14, 2014, 5:53 GMT

    He has been very reliable,effective and fighter captain who does his work quietly. I became fan of him during Ind-Aus ODI series. Given the rise of Aus fortunes in test cricket , it will be very difficult for him to claim spot again but he would be an asset in any shorter version of the game. I wish him well. - Indian Fan.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on March 14, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    irrelevant article on a mediocre but lucky player

  • Biggus on March 14, 2014, 6:15 GMT

    Nothing wrong with George Bailey in our eyes. We would have hoped that he'd worked out test-wise but he didn't and we always knew it was a gamble to select a guy for tests on the basis of T20 and ODI form. As for his captaincy of the T20 side being largely unlauded, well that's due to our attitude vis-a-vis T20. He's captain of the silly team, and that's just the way it is. As a person I think he's pretty well liked and respected all round. Just a shame the test business hasn't worked out.

  • MariusPontmercy94 on March 14, 2014, 6:35 GMT

    I like George Bailey. With regards to his place in the Test side, though, I wouldn't have him in there as a walk-up start, but I'd put him in there when (not if) something happened to Shane Watson, and I'd have him play that Adam Gilchrist-esque role of the middle-to-lower order batsman who just comes out and throws the bat at everything. After all, that seems to be what he does best.

    The problem with Bailey is that he seems to be most comfortable when playing ODI's, cricket's neglected middle child. However, even if he's not making runs, I'd have him in the limited overs side every single time just for his leadership and fielding.

  • RD_INDIAN on March 14, 2014, 6:36 GMT

    Nice article but george hasnt proved himself to pay the long innings when the team is in trouble. To be frank havent seen a lot of him so might have missed tht innings. Aussies are known fr their aggression maybe showing a little more on the field might gain him acceptance but why should he change his attitude jst to be accepted? Jst needs to work harder to get into the team. From wht i have seen a decent batsman.

  • xtrafalgarx on March 14, 2014, 7:35 GMT

    I don't see how GB is looked down upon. His teammates love him, and he has a lot of fans. Stop looking down upon him, he is as good a limited overs batter as there is in the world at the moment.