Stand-in one-day captain George Bailey believes Channel Nine have played a key role in fuelling the perception he will be skippering a second-string Australian team against Sri Lanka at the MCG on Friday.
Australia named a revamped 13-man ODI squad last weekend, which included four untried one-day players, three of whom (Aaron Finch, Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja) will fill the hosts' top three batting slots in the series opener, the first of five ODIs against Sri Lanka.
The move was designed to rest the country's more senior players, who were either battling niggling injuries or needed a rest following the summer's two three-Test series against South Africa and Sri Lanka respectively.
And while Cricket Australia have come under fire for naming a watered-down squad, Bailey believes Channel Nine, who are battling severe debt issues, have perpetuated that sentiment in a bid to get a better price in its negotiations for a new broadcast deal and subsequently continue its long-standing relationship with the sport.
"I can probably understand it (criticism) coming from Channel Nine," Bailey said after training at the MCG on Thursday.
"I think they're about to go into negotiations for the TV rights, I think that was a pretty tactical move to try and talk down one-day cricket and what the Australian team's putting out."
Bailey hit back at suggestions Australia would be fielding a 'B' team and stressed the squad selection not only took upcoming tours to India and England into account but also the 2015 ICC World Cup, which will be held Down Under.
"It's still the Australian cricket team, isn't it? I'm sure Sri Lanka won't be taking it as an Australia 'B' team," Bailey said.
"There's no doubt there's one eye on different tours this year and also on the World Cup in 2015.
"I think if these guys perform really well, what you could see (this series) is the core of the Australian side come 2015 ... going forward I think you'll see these guys a lot more in one-day cricket (and) I think you'll see some of them play Test cricket so the calibre of player is certainly there."
Bailey said it would be exciting to see debutants Finch, Hughes and Khawaja all at the top of the batting order against Sri Lanka and suggested they now had a big opportunity to cement their places in the national one-day set-up.
"All three have earned their place, their domestic record's outstanding ... they all have outstanding games for international cricket," Bailey said.
"It's a huge opportunity and a great one ... what you want from your top four, top five (bats) in one-day cricket is for them to score the bulk of the runs and to win you the game.
"Whether it's your first game or your 50th game, that expectation doesn't change."
Ben Cutting and Steve Smith were the unlucky two to miss out on selection for the first ODI against Sri Lanka.
<b>Australia XI for 1st ODI:</b> George Bailey (c), Xavier Doherty, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Phil Hughes, David Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Clint Mckay, Mitchell Starc.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 10 January, 2013 2:50PM AEST