‘This build-up is going to be completely different’, says George Bailey

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“I’m not sure being older makes it easier but I think having played the other formats, in terms of with crowd build-up, media stuff, that will be a little bit easier to handle”

Australia Twenty20 captain George Bailey is highly used to preparing for limited overs series, but after being included in the country’s Ashes squad for the first time in his career, the 31-year-old has admitted that the “build-up is going to be completely different”.

Bailey also revealed that he had been talking to Rob Quiney, who represented Australia in two Test matches against South Africa last November.

Although Quiney did not fare well against South Africa’s pace attack, Bailey acknowledged that he knew what the “build-up” to such an important series was like.

“Having been around this side for a little bit I know what it’s like but I think this build-up is going to be completely different so there’s a sense of anticipation there and not really sure what it’s all going to be like,” Bailey told reporters in Brisbane. “But I’ve had the chance to talk to Bobby Quiney and Wadey and Xavier Doherty over the last few days and the overriding thing from them is just been to make sure you enjoy it and sometimes in these situations you have to remind yourself of that because there’s a lot going on.

“I wanted to talk to Bobby to see how his perspective was and see how he felt about his couple of Tests, how he dealt with the pressure and expectation externally and how he dealt with it himself. He’s a good man to talk to, such a terrific bloke and down to earth. It was a big adjustment. The main message from him was to make sure you enjoy it, which is the main message that past players have drilled into me. The way Bobby batted this week he’s back to his best which is great to see.”

Despite coming off an outstanding ODI series against India, where he scored 478 runs, including a career-best 156, at a spectacular average of 95.60, Bailey has not been able to replicate that form in the Sheffield Shield as he only managed to score 37 and 16 against Victoria and 34 and 41 in the match against Queensland last week.

“I’ve felt pretty good the last couple of games,” Bailey said. “Obviously it’s going to be a pretty different wicket, the Gabba wicket compared to the two we’ve played on where bowled and lbws were the preferred mode of dismissal, so it will be good to get on something with more bounce.

“I’ve enjoyed having a couple of games and getting in nets and getting used to different tempo, that’s as big an adjustment as anything, but it was nice to play those games. I’m still feeling really good, a bit frustrated I haven’t been able to go on with starts but in terms of how I’m feeling and hitting the ball, couldn’t be happier.”

Bailey will become the oldest batsman to make his Test debut for Australia in 34 years, but despite being a veteran of the limited overs format, he conceded that the atmosphere of Test cricket will be something completely new to him.

“I’m not sure being older makes it easier but I think having played the other formats, in terms of with crowd build-up, media stuff, that will be a little bit easier to handle,” Bailey said. “The advantage of being 31…you only get one crack at it, so I’ll go out there, I’ll be me. I’ll play the way I play and I won’t go out trying to be anything but myself. And that’s a good thing.”

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