Long Test wait for skipper in waiting
Despite captaining Australia in both of international cricket’s short forms, the length of George Bailey’s wait for a Test call-up was such that he became the oldest batsman in 35 years to earn a baggy green when summoned for the opening Ashes Test of 2013-14.
Not that he hadn’t served a sizeable apprenticeship at first-class level. He joined a list that includes Mike Hussey, Brad Hodge and current Australian coach Darren Lehmann – all batsmen who played around 100 Sheffield Shield matches before the Test arena beckoned.
What has set Bailey apart is his rise to prominence in the 50-over and 20-over format. He made his international debut in the role of Australia’s Twenty20 skipper, and enjoyed a break-out series in India in 2013 where he plundered 478 runs at an average of 95.60 with a personal best of 156.
It was his recent returns in white-ball cricket as well as his leadership credentials and positive dressing room influence that convinced selectors he was worth investing in for Australia’s Test middle order.