the timing of bailey

Cricket, like watches and clocks, is all about timing. When George Bailey came to the crease batting at No 7 in a rain-affected match in a series that Australia had already been smashed in, while most Aussies were tucked under their doonas, it was a largely pointless innings.

For Bailey, the uncontracted Australian T20 captain who has batted in five different positions in nine ODIs, it was the worst possible time to play what was perhaps his best innings yet for Australia. Australia had slipped to 5/77 off 19.1 overs. Their run rate was comically slow early on, compounded by a glut of middle over wickets, they were playing Duckworth Lewis cricket the exact opposite of how you should.

Australia ended up with a total of 145. After Bailey came in, Australia added 68 runs, Bailey added 46* of them. He did this while batting the last 10 overs with the tail. Waiting until the very end to hit out, he took 19 runs off 9 balls in the last two overs, including a monster six from James Anderson.

Unlike his previous innings in this series, Bailey looked in control of his game, and perhaps without Graeme Swann to hold him down, he found it far easier to score than almost all the Australian batsmen. The way he played with the tail was very clever, and when he decided he needed to hit boundaries, he hit or cleared them. It was exactly what you’d expect from a good quality ODI finisher in hard circumstances.

That the total was only 145 couldn’t be blamed on Bailey. And Australia did move the ball around a bit, but like at all times this tour, moving it around was not enough to get through England’s top order, and they got home quite easily.

On the social networks Bailey has copped a lot of flak for the way he has batted in this series. Far more flak than someone who averages 40 from nine ODIs probably should receive. In Bailey’s short career so far he’s been unlucky, not much on the field, but off it.

When he was the surprise selection as T20 captain, it was during a time when he wasn’t making runs, and became an easy target. After that he played two very important ODI innings in the Caribbean, but time zones and low scoring pitches didn’t truly drum home the importance of them.

The one innings that Bailey did play while Australians were awake and watching the TV was his scratchy 50 at the Oval. It was an innings where he fought back well, although he needed to after batting himself into a really deep hole early on.

This innings of 46* should repair his reputation, but I doubt it will. Those who don’t rate him won’t count this knock in a dead-rubber, sub-par total as anything special. Most will only see 46* on a scorecard and forget it minutes later. Hopefully the few who did see it will think of this innings as something worth getting off George Bailey’s back for.

At least for the time being.

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7 thoughts on “the timing of bailey

  1. SMUDGEON says:

    excellent article, Mr Balls.
    George is a player who is always going to be well respected by his peers, but is probably never going to win over the general cricketing public. it’s a shame, because in Tassie we’ve know for years how good that little ginger man is. batting in an awkward situation is Georges’s forte. if he makes it to the test team, he’ll make for an excellent Mike Hussey replacement in the middle order…

    • andrewmcroft says:

      I agree,good article. Although an Englishman, I have lived in Tas for a number of years and follow Tasmania very closely. George Bailey should have been in the Aussie squad 2-3 years ago and would be a fine vice captain, unlike Watson. Unfortunately he is perceived, quite rightly, to be intelligent, articulate and educated with this “non working class ” background counting against him. It is not helped by Border and Waugh making negative comments about him. They were heavily critical about his slow scoring in the other one dayer yet his strike rate was better than Bell and others who they were creaming over. I feel disappointed for George, but it will be good for Tassie and England….take it from me, there is no respect for Watson as vice captain, person or cricketer from the Poms.

  2. cricketnns says:

    Look, Bailey was always under pressure to perform. Clarkey & Watto were the two experienced men in the NatWest series, and Watto got an injury half way through the tour. Bailey had to perform to keep his place, and I think he has done enough. This World T20 may be his breakthrough if he wins the prize, which will not be an easy task, by all means.

  3. Angy says:

    If there was any success it was Bailey. There’s a guy who can grind but also bludgeon. He can play elegantly, but he can also piss off Stuart Broad. The existence of one more such player should be a wonderful story for all mankind.

  4. Rose says:

    Subramaniam Badrinath of Australia

  5. To me Bailey is a good player and yes all players some times play under pressure but doesn’t meant they are not good player :)

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