Sheffield Shield 2013-14 November 3, 2013

Bailey to play Tasmania's Shield game


George Bailey is intent on proving his worth as a long-form batsman before the Australian squad for the first Ashes Test is named, flying directly to Brisbane in order to take part in Tasmania's Sheffield Shield fixture against Queensland from November 6.

Members of the ODI squad in India were allowed to make their own decision on whether they would be available for the second Shield round, only two days after their return home from the subcontinent. Bailey, however, has chosen to take part in the match against the Bulls and their strong pace attack as the best way of demonstrating his credentials.

Bailey is strongly favoured to be chosen as the sixth batsman in Australia's team for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, irrespective of how seriously Shane Watson's hamstring turns out to have been damaged by his bowling and batting in a lost cause at Bangalore. Bailey had the option of returning to Hobart for a few days' rest and to not play again until after the Ashes squad had been named on November 12.

But he is aware of not having played first-class matches since a brief county stint with Hampshire early in the English summer, and also that any questions marks around his inclusion are based on a poor domestic record last summer. Runs in Brisbane would silence those doubts.

"I don't think there will be any major challenges with guys getting back into first-class cricket," Bailey said after the Bangalore defeat. "We've all played a lot of cricket in Australia, we know the conditions, we're familiar with what is on offer. But you've just got to try and adjust really quickly.

"Obviously the format is different and the red ball offers different challenges. It's not going to be a surprise to us, but it's just about taking back the same sort of mindset. Certainly what I've been training for in the nets and working with Diva [Michael DiVenuto, batting coach] is not to be too different from one-day to four-day cricket, so hopefully that transpires."

Over the weekend, Bailey was the subject of numerous glowing features in the Australian press, declaring his status as Australia's man of the hour and a welcome level head to add to a batting line-up that changed constantly during the earlier Ashes bout in England. However the former captain Ian Chappell, who alongside Shane Warne has been a longtime critic, offered a contrary view in his Sunday column, asking the national selectors to see beyond the hype around Bailey and look elsewhere.

"A selector has to look past the number of runs and see the batsmanship," Chappell wrote in Sydney's Sunday Telegraph. "Bailey, despite his mountain of runs in one-day cricket, is a batsman who's restricted through the cover region, can be stifled by good spinners and is troubled by well-directed short-pitched bowling. His moderate first-class record and those limitations are not a good template for a Test batsman.

"Facing a quality England attack on bouncy Australian pitches is a far cry from what Bailey has been relishing in India. Batting on pitches that bowlers find as helpful as a Parisian asked for directions in English and against an Indian attack more benevolent than the Bill Gates Foundation, has little bearing on what's looming at the Gabba and beyond.

"There's also a chasm of difference between batting against a pedestrian attack hoping to contain and top-class bowling predators seeking wickets with field placings to reflect those widely varying approaches. The Australian selectors have to ignore the clamouring from a Board and a public that are desperate for victory over England and choose a combination that gives the side their best chance of winning."

With another Tasmanian Test aspirant Alex Doolan seconded to play for Australia A against the Englishmen in Hobart, Bailey may find himself batting higher than his customary middle-order post for the Tigers.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rahul on November 5, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    I am totally with Chappell on his recent comments. Runs scored in the middle overs of a one day game are not indicative as a guide to a batsmen's capabilities in real cricket. In fact the 4 to 6 position in 50 over cricket should be filled with batsmen who we want to get back into form because it is easy runs. Bailey will probably be picked, but going off his shield contributions he will not be a long term solution, i wish him well and hope he can make it but he just hasn't done the hard yards in shield cricket. Klinger, Khawaja and Hughes have ont the other hand been scoring in shield over the last few years and from them i tip Khawaja or Klinger will get into the first test.

  • Rajaram on November 5, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    God forbid that Shane Watson cannot play due to injury, but it is unavoidable, Usman Khawaja is the RIGHT MAN TO TAKE RICKY PONTING'S SPOT- none of the other batsmen has the kind of technique that Khwaja has. And if he is not shuffled around like he was - Number 3 to Number 6, and damned as unsuccessful, he will be a pleasure to watch batting at Number 3. Remember his classic strokes like Mark Waugh, Damien Martyn and Ricky Ponting when he batted with composure in the SCG Test against the Poms when Ricky sat out because of injury to his little finger?

  • Phil on November 5, 2013, 4:56 GMT

    Fleming you also need to remember that the batting conditions at Brisbane and Adelaide will be far better than those served up in England. The Gabba has seen some huge scores the past few years. So chances are we will be seeing longer, more draining periods in the field and that's why the 5th bowler is so crucial to protecting Harris from being overbowled while Watto is not there.You say Watto is not in the best 6 batsmen in the country…so you wouldn't bring him back in despite having made 176 in his last Ashes Test? I am not sure how you can justify that. If Watson is fit get him in even if its as a batsman, if he is not then Khawaja is the best guy to come in at 3, i loved what i saw from him in Ryobi. If you are looking for a 6 then it should be Bailey.

  • David on November 5, 2013, 2:09 GMT

    By the way, re my recent post that White should have been number 6 in the 2010 Ashes, I note that in that series, in the first innings of the five Tests, the Australian number 6 they did actually pick (North/Smith/Haddin) totalled 46 runs at the grand average of 9.2. I remain available to be a selector when asked, Jimmy Sutho.

  • David on November 5, 2013, 1:54 GMT

    Good one TimMac. I was pushing for White to be selected at 6 for the last Ashes series in Australia. For my money, anyone good enough to play Sheffield Shield at 17 and still be playing many years later is worth a look as a Test player. His batting technique may be limited but that's not a problem for experienced players who know how to play within their own abilities. (That works for Bailey too.) Had they selected White in 2010 he would almost certainly be next in line for the captaincy now.

  • Jeremy on November 4, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    Never mind Bailey. He's a talent, but lets see him get some Shield runs this season. I'd much prefer to see Mark Cosgrove in the test XI. There is no contest between him and any other fringe test batsman at the moment. Bring Cossie in.

  • David on November 4, 2013, 22:27 GMT

    What is it with these Khawaja supporters. His 1st class numbers aren`t very good. He has been given a number of shots at test cricket and has come up woefully short each time. He is simply not good enough. Bailey is an interesting option. Ian Chappells criticisms are well made and very valid but some players perform better at test level than 1st class level/ Michael Clarkes 1st class numbers never warranted test selection when he was first picked. Neither did Shane Warnes. Bailey must improve against the short ball damn quickly if he is to be an ashes option. Lets just hope the Queensland attack pepper him with short balls which will help the selectors make up their minds. Doolan is exciting and could be a late bloomer in the way that Cowans wash`t.

  • Tim on November 4, 2013, 12:45 GMT

    Never mind Bailey, will someone have a look at Cam White? He brings all the qualities George has in a non-cricketing sense (leadership, experience, being a good lad) and has historically scored more runs. Plus he is in sensational form ( 7 out of 8 innings this season have been half-centuries, the other being a 42).

    His bowling isn't as bad as people will have you believe either...

  • Michael on November 4, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    Bailey batted with a freedom in India which suggests he already knows he is in the team for the First Test.

  • Michael on November 4, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    If we are talking about the merits of keepers - shouldn't due consideration be given to Tim Paine? He surely would have been the incumbent instead of Wade except for an untimely broken finger. His batting is solid (4 tests @ 35 average) and his glovework is far superior to Wade. With Haddin approaching his twilight, now would be the time for Australia to inflict some Paine on the Poms...

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