The Ashes 2013-14 November 17, 2013

'This build-up is completely different' - Bailey


A Gabba Test, a so-called good bloke making his debut at 30-plus, a sense of uncertainty about whether he will make it as a Test batsman - it could just as easily be last year's build-up to the first Test against South Africa as this summer's lead-up to the Ashes. But the debutant this time around, George Bailey, hopes his Test career will be longer than that of his counterpart from last year, Rob Quiney, and he has picked Quiney's brains over the past few days for advice.

Quiney was thrust into the No. 3 position against Dale Steyn and Co., and was unable to reach double figures in any of his three innings in Brisbane or Adelaide, before being dropped to make way for the returning Shane Watson. The situation this year is a little different for Bailey, for he will come in lower down in the order - most likely No. 6 - and he is not standing in for an injured player, meaning a stable place in the side could be his if the runs flow.

But just like Quiney, Bailey knows that a couple of failures will have the selectors rethinking their decision, and that foray into the baggy green may be shorter than he would like. Bailey flew in to Brisbane on Sunday ahead of the first Test and said he had spoken to Quiney during the Sheffield Shield match between Tasmania and Victoria in Hobart, as well as to other Test players like Xavier Doherty and Matthew Wade, about how to handle the big moment.

"Having been around this side for a little bit I know what it's like but I think this build-up is going to be completely different so there's a sense of anticipation there and not really sure what it's all going to be like," Bailey told reporters in Brisbane. "But I've had the chance to talk to Bobby Quiney and Wadey and Xavier Doherty over the last few days and the overriding thing from them is just been to make sure you enjoy it and sometimes in these situations you have to remind yourself of that because there's a lot going on.

"I wanted to talk to Bobby to see how his perspective was and see how he felt about his couple of Tests, how he dealt with the pressure and expectation externally and how he dealt with it himself. He's a good man to talk to, such a terrific bloke and down to earth. It was a big adjustment. The main message from him was to make sure you enjoy it, which is the main message that past players have drilled into me. The way Bobby batted this week he's back to his best which is great to see."

Quiney was Man of the Match in Victoria's win in Hobart for his 82 and 86, while Bailey had to settle for a couple of starts of 37 and 16, to add to the 34 and 41 he made against Queensland at Allan Border Field the previous week. They are not the kind of giant scores he posted during the one-day series in India, which made him impossible to overlook in the eyes of the selectors, but he is confident the adjustment back to the red ball has done him good in any case.

"I've felt pretty good the last couple of games," Bailey said. "Obviously it's going to be a pretty different wicket, the Gabba wicket compared to the two we've played on where bowleds and lbws were the preferred mode of dismissal, so it will be good to get on something with more bounce.

"I've enjoyed having a couple of games and getting in nets and getting used to different tempo, that's as big an adjustment as anything, but it was nice to play those games. I'm still feeling really good, a bit frustrated I haven't been able to go on with starts but in terms of how I'm feeling and hitting the ball, couldn't be happier."

At 31, Bailey will be the oldest batsman to make his Test debut for Australia in 34 years, since Jeff Moss was handed a baggy green during the World Series Cricket rift. Having already stepped up in the shorter formats at international level over the past two years, Bailey hopes he will be able to handle the atmosphere of Test cricket as well, but knows it will be a vastly different occasion to anything he has experienced before.

"I'm not sure being older makes it easier but I think having played the other formats, in terms of with crowd build-up, media stuff, that will be a little bit easier to handle," Bailey said. "The advantage of being only get one crack at it, so I'll go out there, I'll be me. I'll play the way I play and I won't go out trying to be anything but myself. And that's a good thing."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 19, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    the irony is, the best number 6 is there already. Unfortunately, he opens.

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    Bailey may not be the best test player but Aus dont have any other option, they have already tried khwaja, hughes, cowan. Watson , Smith , Clarke & Bailey all right handers will form the middle order along with warner & rogers. The only doubt we have is for johnson, to fit johnson u have to drop either a spinner or in form faulkner. Aus bowling will definitely be having an advantage over Eng but their batting will let down them in ASHES. its going to be 3-0 or 3-1 again this time in Eng favour.

  • Chris on November 18, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    Not sure he's asking advice of the right people regarding handling playing test cricket. Three guys who haven't at all been up to test cricket.

  • Android on November 18, 2013, 3:26 GMT

    Bailey is too good. look forward to him playing well against England. Maxwell should also be in the team. so they have missed a trick there. I support England but like to see Bailey do well.

  • david on November 18, 2013, 2:51 GMT

    Dare I say it but this is a strong Australian side. The addition of Bailey only makes it stronger. Good luck to Front-Foot-Lunge, Hammond, Red and White Army, Train Stationer etc, but your team is going to need it. The Gabba is a stronghold and AUSTRALIA have built an imposing record here. Stats can be twisted to support any argument, especially when it comes to cricket. I think I have read just about every stat on this website in the past few months, mostly from Englans diehards. The biggest stat for this game that starts on Thursday will be who wins the toss and sends the opposition into bat.

  • Patrick on November 18, 2013, 2:48 GMT

    If any logic whatsoever was being used by anyone involved then Faulkner would be picked ahead of Bailey for this Test. Especially if Watson can't bowl. In batting alone Faulkner has shown significantly better first-class ability, and his form in the ODIs in India was just as good as Bailey.

    Good luck to George though, he's one of my favourite players and I hope he has a Mike Hussey-like career.

  • John on November 18, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    @gsingh7 if Cook wasn't captain he wouldn't even be near the ODI side...enuff said! That being said Cook's avg has gone up since he took over as captain as well as scoring his highest 100 during that period. And please don't use a journeyman playing in a meaningless test series at home as examples. That's like Eng organizing a 2 test home series against New Zealand as Cook's farewell match and Alex Hales just happens to hit 2 centuries

  • Kenso on November 18, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    Whilst I wish George Bailey all the best I simply dont understand this selection. At least Rob Quiney had a mountain of shield runs, state player of the year prior to his selection. Same can be said for Marcus North. If we are going to pick a 30+yr old then id prefer either of those two. Quiney got out to a very good SA attack and North scored runs. How bout we select guys for the future like Doolan

  • Graham on November 17, 2013, 23:09 GMT

    Milhouse79; In the recent games against South Africa, Clarke was in early on a couple of occasions before scoring double tons against Steyn and Morkel so doubt he is too worried about Broad and a new ball. I'd rate these guys over Broad. Lets see if Broad has improved from his last tour down here, last time the turning point was dropping Broad and Finn and bringing in Bresnan and Tremlett.