'Teams doctor their pitches against us' - Bailey
George Bailey, the Australia ODI captain, has said that home teams "doctor" their pitches to prepare turners because they believe visiting Australian sides are vulnerable against spin. There was considerable assistance for spinners during the only T20 international in Dubai, which Glenn Maxwell and Cameron Boyce exploited to squeeze Pakistan to 96 for 9 in a six-wicket win. Bailey wanted his batsmen to improve so much against slow bowling that opponents stopped dishing out turners.
"I still think teams are doctoring their wickets when we come and play them to produce very large spinning wickets, which says to me that teams still think that we're vulnerable against spin," Bailey said ahead of the first ODI in Sharjah. "Teams can certainly be prone to put more spin into their wickets when they know we are coming given the way we have played it over the years so that is something we are continually trying to get better at.
"I think that is an ongoing challenge for us. I guess (we need) exposure to spinning wickets and a lot of spinners. I still think we have got a long way to go. The challenge for us is to become so good at spin that that is no longer required. Teams are then producing the best cricket wickets they can."
Bailey said that while the result of the T20 would not have any bearing on the ODI series, the Australia spinners would take confidence from the way they bowled. "I thought what the T20 side did really well was they started well. They grabbed the momentum early and put Pakistan on the back foot and we will certainly be looking to replicate that."
Pakistan will be without Saeed Ajmal, who has been banned for an illegal action. The ICC has been severe on bowlers with suspect actions of late, but Bailey said Australia had not been impacted because their board had already weeded out such players from domestic cricket long back.
"It will provide opportunities for some other spinners in the Pakistani line-up. Pakistan will definitely be trying to prove that they do not rely too much on Ajmal. From an opposition perspective, it will pose different challenges but if you look at his record over a number of years there is no doubt he has been very, very important for Pakistan.
"It hasn't had any effect on ours because Cricket Australia took a strong stance a number of years ago to not coach players into having actions that could be deemed illegal which I think retrospectively has worked out quite well. It was a hard decision to make because there were some bowlers who were having a big influence around the world but it has worked out quite well."
While Ajmal is absent, Australia had never faced the tall fast bowler Mohammad Irfan before the Dubai T20, and Bailey said he was going to be difficult to tackle. "Just chatting to the guys this morning who faced him last night, it is different. And anytime you come up against something that is different - and obviously he is quality, he is playing international cricket - it takes a little bit of time to adjust and get used to. We have to find a way to deal with the bounce and the different things that he poses when he bowls but hopefully we'll get used to that pretty quickly."