Cullen Benjamin Bailey
February 26, 1985, Bedford Park, Adelaide, South Australia
Right hand bat
Six years since his first-class debut, 26-year-old Cullen Bailey remains very much a work in progress. Whether or not can reach the goals first thought within his grasp when he was granted a most optimistic Cricket Australia contract in 2007-08 is open to question, but he has retained his spot in the South Australian squad now under the guidance of the new coach Darren Berry. The past two summers have seen Bailey play a handful of Sheffield Shield matches and plenty of Futures League cricket. He has impressed as much with the bat as the ball, and has also had a hand in the development of the off spinner Nathan Lyon. Bailey spoke eloquently at the funeral of his mentor Terry Jenner in the winter, and must now find a way to develop his game without the advice of a man who did so much to shape Shane Warne's more freakish talent.
A sharp upward curve in Bailey's early career peaked one day in May 2007 when he flew out for his honeymoon in Malaysia and was at the same time unveiled as a new addition on Cricket Australia's contract list. With Warne in international retirement in England, the squad was heavy on old and new spinners with visions of replacing the irreplaceable. Terry Jenner, the man who kept such a valuable eye on Warne since his false start at the Academy, also coaches Bailey and warned against an early Test promotion for such a young man.
Bailey's figures over the previous three years also led to caution from the selection panel. His debut came in the final Pura Cup game of 2004-05 after a fine grade season for his club Sturt and the next summer he bowled the Redbacks to victory over Tasmania with 5 for 146, earning 18 wickets at 47.55 in six matches and a memorable stumping of Michael Bevan. Darren Lehmann, the former captain, would set attacking fields, ignoring the building runs for the increasing wickets, and it was a contributing factor to Bailey's high average.
In 2006-07 Bailey emerged as the state's first-choice first-class spinner, playing eight Pura Cup games to Cullen's five, and returned 26 wickets at 41.15. The national selectors were impressed and he was placed on a six-figure salary. The following year the pair swapped positions and both lost their national deals. Bailey has studied media at university and wrote columns about his time at the Centre of Excellence in 2006.
Cricinfo staff July 2011
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