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“I’ve probably got into some bad habits playing a lot of short form cricket so I’ve got to go away and work out how to get rid of those”
Australia Twenty20 captain George Bailey has revealed that he was axed from the Test squad for the national team’s upcoming tour of South Africa due to the “bad habits” he picked up playing limited overs cricket.
Despite being named Australia’s ODI Player of the Year, Bailey struggled during the recent Ashes series against England as he only managed to score 183 runs at an average of 26.14.
“I had a really good chat with Boof during the one-day game and I think I’ve got some things to work on against good quality fast bowling,” Bailey said. “I’ve probably got into some bad habits playing a lot of short form cricket so I’ve got to go away and work out how to get rid of those, and then work out how to adapt really quickly, which I think you see Pup and Steve Smith do really well, and that’s what I’ve got to get to.
“To be honest I was more hoping than expecting to be on the tour. I think I was a benefit of the fact we were winning those Tests, so as a batsman I think you’re judged on setting games up and scoring big runs in the first innings, so I would’ve liked to contribute more in those runs, and if you’d done that then I think it would’ve been an expectation to be on that flight as opposed to a hope. I can’t really fault it [his omission].”
Bailey is now aiming to regain his spot in the Test squad for Australia’s tour of Pakistan in October.
“I think I said at the start of the series that at 31 you probably only get one crack at it, but I’m hoping now to prove myself wrong,” Bailey said. “I don’t think it matters what age you debut, you’re always going to get to that level and find so much out about yourself and find out so much about that level. I learned a hell of a lot about my game, and you discover there’s so much more to learn. So it’s reinvigorated me in a lot of ways.
“I tell you what, those five Tests, if that’s not the most addictive thing to be a part of and want to get back and feel that once again, I don’t think I’ve ever had a greater motivation.”
However, Bailey will have to put his Test ambitions to the side for the moment and concentrate on captaining Australia in the upcoming World Twenty20 tournament.
“We’re probably not going to get that squad together until South Africa,” he said. “So it’s going to be the normal T20 conundrum of how you try to build a World Cup-winning side in a short space of time.”
Even though he failed to have a major impact with the bat during the Ashes series, Bailey’s contributions did not go unnoticed by captain Michael Clarke.
“Bails is a great example of someone who didn’t perform as well as he’d have liked personally throughout the Ashes, but I can’t tell you enough the benefit of having him around the group, his leadership on and off the field, his attitude,” Clarke said. “And that takes more courage and character than when you’re making hundreds or taking five-fors.
“To give so much back to the team when you’re not performing personally I think that’s the most underrated thing in sport and he’s been a great example. I also think that’s why the whole team feels for him that he’s not coming to South Africa with us.”