England in Australia 2013-14 January 16, 2014

Australian pride in 'making it uncomfortable' for England - Bailey


As a third England cricketer prepares to leave Australia before the end of the tour, George Bailey has said that there is a sense of pride in the home camp over the hostile environment they have created during the summer which has made the visitors feel uncomfortable.

Steven Finn joined Graeme Swann and Jonathan Trott as players who have been unable to complete the tour although all three are for differing reasons. Trott's stress-related illness was a long-term issue that came to a head in Brisbane and has been treated with the understanding and respect that it has a wider significance than sport. Swann, meanwhile, opted to cut his tour short, and end his career, following the third Test in Perth after revealing his elbow was no longer up to the task of Test bowling, while Finn has endured a torrid time since arriving in Australia as his confidence hit an all-time low.

Yet, even many of those who completed the Test series finished with battered reputations, something the one-day squad and now trying to ensure does not happen to them. There is little sympathy emanating from the Australian players - although perhaps a little empathy into what tours-gone-bad can do to a squad - about the problems England have had over the last two-and-half months.

"We take a little bit of pride in it," Bailey said. "I guess in terms that we are making it so uncomfortable for guys whether that's through form or fitness. I don't think any of them are related and it could just be a coincidence that three have happened to do that. In the way we've played and the intensity and the media build-up of a series, it has been pretty big. There's no doubt there's been a lot of scrutiny.

"I think it is always challenging when you are a long way from home and from family and the things you know. With the shoe on the other foot we've been in that situation before and know how challenging it is. For us to have that advantage to be at home and to see our loved ones and to be in pretty comfortable surroundings, that's probably something that is fortunate for us."

The challenge is not going to get any more comfortable for England, either, with the return of Mitchell Johnson in Brisbane and he will no doubt be quick to remind those batsmen who faced him in the Test series about their problems. It was at the Gabba, on the fourth evening as Australia were closing in on victory, that the atmosphere in the middle involving Johnson, Bailey and Michael Clarke became fierce - Clarke ended up with a fine for his words to James Anderson - and there was a concerted effort throughout the series to keep England under pressure with words as well as deeds.

Bailey spent long periods of time perched at short leg and was often central to what was said in the middle but believes too much has been made of the confrontations.

"I'm sick of the sledging stuff to be honest. Just because you're aggressive, that seems to be a thing that everyone jumps towards. There's always stuff that's going to be said, I wouldn't read into the fact that just because there's two guys talking out there every time that they're ripping each other's heads off. There are a lot of blokes out there who get a long pretty well. There's a lot of times that you're having a joke or talking about plenty of things. The aggressive way we play is a mantra that is as much about the cricket as opposed to everything else."

The words 'aggressive' and 'attacking' were at the forefront when Bailey was discussing how Australia want to play their one-day cricket as they build towards the World Cup. "We hope that it is a brand of cricket that will take us onwards and upwards," he said. "We hope it's a type of cricket that will not only be good enough for England in this series but will be good enough for the world come February next year."

Bailey expects that other teams will watching closely, working out how they will tackle the variety of conditions provided for one-day cricket in Australia and offered a token note of encouragement towards England.

"I would be surprised if all teams aren't starting to have one eye on their planning and to get their squad and team balance right," he said. "England probably have a slight advantage in they get to play a five-game series this close to it."

That, though, was as close as it came to support from Australia to England.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Peter on January 17, 2014, 4:01 GMT

    @oze13 Can Bailey walk the talk? For ODI's go check his efforts in the last series in India & then give yourself an uppercut.

  • Dummy4 on January 17, 2014, 2:59 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy. And what was the result last time Australia played England at soccer? (For those who can't be bothered checking it was 3-1, and not in England's favour :)...)

  • Liam on January 17, 2014, 2:31 GMT

    Geez Rednwhitearmy, you've given us some lame excuses lately but that one is your best effort yet, by giving up on cricket and referring to a completely different sport! That does not sound like the behaviour of the "greatest supporters in the world"! By the way, which particular form of football are you referring? Is it Rugby Union football, Rugby League football, Australian football, Gaelic football, American football, Canadian or Association Football. You know what Association football is, don't you? It's that game that England hasn't won any international competition for the last 48 years.

  • James on January 17, 2014, 1:55 GMT

    @Oze13: 4th ranked ODI batsman in the world says he can.

  • Graham on January 17, 2014, 1:44 GMT

    oze13, Yevghenny; Not sure how you have come up with your conclusions. Bailey has just shown respect for England by saying they will continue to go hard, which is treating the opponent with the utmost of respect. He has not sledged anyone, has not put down England cricket, as such he has not talked the talk just answered some questions respectfully and with honesty.

  • Dave on January 17, 2014, 1:31 GMT

    Cpt - there are very many English who continue to support our team thru the bad times.

    Fact is England were very very poor throughout the series - one can find many excuses if you try - poor preparation etc but bottom line is they have not performed.

    Izzidole - regarding the sourcing of talent - Australia in general can't really throw stones - you too are quick to recruit imports if it suits in other sports - Dokic, Tsu, Gregoriava, Ahmed et al - you're happy to call them Aussies once the passport is granted!!

  • sam on January 17, 2014, 0:58 GMT

    On subject of soccer Eng are 1 of best and sure s/finalists in coming WC,even a chance of being in final.Bef. being runner up to WC champs Brazil of course.Dont see Eng make past 1st round in cricket WC in Aus though where Aus will be champs for 5th time.

  • Shannon on January 17, 2014, 0:56 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster. Actually, the most popular or "primary" sport in Australia, by most useful indicators, is football. For our non-Australian friends, by that I mean Australian rules football, not soccer. Rugby's popularity is really limited to the states of New South Wales and Queensland. And we're certainly the best in the world at what we call "football".

  • hayden on January 17, 2014, 0:24 GMT

    @RednWhiteArmy haha beat you at 'football'? we already have! last time the FA granted us a friendly against england at home in 2003 we rolled you 3-2. since then your FA's too scarred to give us a re-match!!! infact if you poms were any good at any sport we wouldnt have had to go off and invent our own football code just to see a decent contest!

  • Guy on January 16, 2014, 23:36 GMT

    Incidentally, @Yevghenny provides yet another example of an error many commenters make on this site - confusing the editorial comments made by the author of the article and the arguments actually made by the player being quoted. People need to understand the process at work here: 1) media demands a conference about not much to get between match material to fill column inches; 2) player spouts a few fairly bland cliches; 3) columnist desperately tries to mash those quotes into an argument or point of interest; 4) sub-editor gives the article as attention-grabbing a headline as possible 5) readers of cricinfo mix up the columnist's opinions (which may or many not be controversial) or the sub-editors inferences with those of the player. If we're going to make posts attacking the opinions of players, people, can we at least bother to read and understand the article and what the player actually said?

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