Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/5/1/george-bailey

Bailey: We can be number one again

UPDATED 02 May, 2013 11:05AM AEST | by Greig Johnston, Omnisport 11

Australian one-day vice-captain George Bailey believes the team can regain their standing as the best ODI side in the world.

The Aussies have produced mixed results in the 50-over format over the past 15 months - with a 4-0 defeat in England last July coming after they were held to a 2-2 draw by the West Indies in March.

They were perhaps fortunate to escape from their recent home series against Sri Lanka with a 2-2 draw, but responded to thump the West Indies 5-0 immediately afterwards.

With the Australian squad announced on Wednesday for their defence of the ICC Champions Trophy, beginning on June 6 in England, Bailey said the team is under no illusions about the work they have to do to regain their once-lofty standing in ODI cricket.

"I think we've had enough wake-up calls over the last 12, 15 months to realise we're not a powerhouse in one-day cricket anymore," Bailey said from England where he is playing for Hampshire.

"I still think we can be the best side in the world in one-day cricket but it's certainly not by the margin that it was two, three, four years ago.

"I guess the recurring theme for us over the last few months and the last few series has been the gap between our best and our worst cricket.

"For us to consider ourselves a really strong one-day side again, that gap's got to really close up.

"I think that'll be the main motivation - to make sure we can just be playing as good a cricket, as strong a cricket, as we can each time we step on the park.

"It is a big tournament. I know we've won it twice. It's certainly a big goal for us, and a point to prove that we're back on track with our one-day cricket to see if we can win it a third time."

Bailey said he had gained plenty of confidence from last year's tour of England where - despite the team struggling to find form - he averaged 49.66.

"It was a big series of belief for me," he said.

"It was obviously really disappointing, the result, but a pretty good wake up call to let us know where exactly we stood in the scheme of things.

"The thing for me was it actually made me believe I could perform at that level, in difficult circumstances, against what I consider a very, very strong side."

Bailey said he was excited by the inclusion of 21-year-old Mitch Marsh in the Champions Trophy squad, and the Western Australian is in line for his first ODI action since October 2011.

"I think everyone in Australia who's played against him or seen him or played with him knows the potential that Mitch Marsh holds," he said.

"How hard he hits the ball is phenomenal. I don't think there's many people in the world hit the ball as hard as he does."

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 01 May, 2013 6:30PM AEST

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