The captain of the currently touring Australian cricket team in India, George Bailey, has a unique side to his cricketing abilities. He was named as a member of the Australian ODI team in March 2010 after his highly successful stint as Tasmania’s captain. But Bailey sat on the bench and didn’t play a single match. However, the Australian selectors had so much faith in Bailey’s leadership abilities that they named him as the T-20 captain for the 2011-12 season. Bailey, thus, has a unique distinction of being made a captain for a cricketing format, for which he was making his playing debut. There is only one parallel to this in Australian cricket history, when Dave Gregory was appointed test captain in 1877, without having ever played a single test match earlier.
Bailey has had a highly impressive record in domestic series in Australia. In Sheffield Shield games in 2007-08 Bailey aggregated 734 runs and followed this performance in 2008-09, when he scored a total of 673 runs at an average of 37.38. Around this time, the Australians were on top of the cricketing world and with players like Ricky Ponting, Mathew Hayden, Michael and David Hussey, Simon Katich and a few others; it was difficult to find a spot in Australian XI for any new cricketer those days. Fortunately, however, Bailey found himself named as member of Australia-A tour of India in late 2008. For the sake of records, Bailey also struck a deal with Chennai Super Kings for the Indian Premier League.
Bailey has been playing first-class one-day-cricket since the age of 19 and he was once branded by someone with the tag of a destructive batsman, capable of changing the complexion of the game within a few overs. If proof was needed, Bailey demonstrated his devastating abilities in the rain-affected Ranchi ODI on October 23, 2013. With Australia struggling at 32/3, Bailey blasted 98 runs in 94 balls with seven fours and three sixes.
Despite their two losses, the Australians, under George Bailey, are having a great time in India. Their batting has been top class and they have already beaten India twice in the ODIs. In the one match they lost at Jaipur, they aggregated 359 runs. With three more games left in the series, they stand a great chance to beat India in the ODI series. All this augurs well for Bailey, who himself is under the Australian selectors’ scanner for the place in the upcoming ashes series. If Bailey does get selected, it will be his test match debut. Bailey himself discounts such speculations and says that ODIs and tests are world apart in styles. One look at bailey will tell you; he is a confident but contended man. But with Michael Clarke still nursing an injury, Bailey may see something quite unique coming his away. He has never played a test match for Australia so far and if his name comes up as a new test-cap at 31, he may also be considered for being appointed as a captain. Though Bailey himself is not talking about it, his performance as captain and batsman in the remaining games against India will be crucial. If the Australians go home victorious, no one would be surprised if George bailey makes his test debut as the new captain of Australia for the ashes Series.
But even if Bailey cannot be named as captain he still deserves entry into the test arena. There have been many precedents, when batsmen doing well in shorter versions of the game have been named for test teams. In the ongoing series in India, Bailey has scored 85, 92*, 43 and 98. It is phenomenal performance by any standards. For the Ashes series against England, someone is needed at no. 6 and George Bailey fits in, despite others like; Shaun Marsh, Usman Khawaja and Phillip Hughes.
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