With Australia’s goal of winning the 2015 ICC World Cup complete there is a spot up for grabs in the number 1 ranked ODI team’s batting order, which was previously occupied by the now retired Michael Clarke. Australia have some quality batsman who didn’t make its World Cup squad. You only have to read the names of batsman like Cameron White, Shaun Marsh, Callum Ferguson, Michael Klinger, Usman Khawaja and Chris Lynn and look at their statistics to figure that out. There is one batsman not included in that list who deserves that number 4 spot more than anyone else previously named and that is the always smiling Tasmanian George Bailey.
We all know by now that Bailey was the unfortunate batsman to lose his spot in the ODI team when Clarke returned from injury. What some people might not remember is the crucial 55 runs Bailey scored against England in Australia’s first World Cup group match after the top order collapsed. If Bailey hadn’t of fought back against the tide in a gusty knock against a confident England bowling attack Australia might have very well lost that match and the affect that could have had on their confidence for the rest of the tournament will thankfully be unknown. Innings like this one stated is what makes someone who has the ability to dig the team out of trouble so important and Bailey possess those unselfish team first instincts, which will allow Australia’s more aggressive batsman like Glenn Maxwell, Shane Watson and James Faulkner to play with freedom closer to the end of the innings .
Bailey’s statistics in the ODI format make for impressive reading; 2017 international runs, in 54 innings, with an average of 42.02, at a strike rate of 86.45 and a top score of 156 runs is nothing to dismiss. Add Bailey’s captaincy skills and the value his experience will be to Steve Smith if he gets the captaincy gig over Bailey like he is expected to and the reasons as to why Bailey shouldn’t regain his place in Australia’s ODI team start to look very slim.