ODI axing was premature: Bailey

Champion Tassie batsman believes his stumps were pulled too early from national colours, but predicts big things from current crop

Martin Smith

19 February 2018, 10:40 PM

Former Australia ODI skipper George Bailey maintains he was discarded from international cricket too soon, but he believes the current one-day side can drag itself out of its current slump ahead of next year's World Cup.

Bailey's productive four-and-a-half-year stay in the ODI team all but ended in January last year when he was axed after making more than 3,000 runs in 90 games, including one match in Australia's triumphant World Cup campaign in 2015.

The Tasmanian's disappointment at being dropped was only heightened when he watched his former teammates struggle over the following 12 months, with the No.4 position - which he had filled with aplomb for much of his career - proving to be particularly problematic.

While Bailey believes he still has plenty to offer the national side, he's given the current group of players his backing to reverse their horror form that has included just six wins from their past 18 games.

"It was frustrating because I felt like it was premature," he told cricket.com.au of his axing. "I honestly felt like I could still play a really good role.

"And particularly I felt my role wasn't necessarily to score the runs on the day where Davey Warner or Steve Smith was going to score the hundreds. My job was to be the guy that held up the ship when those guys failed.

"And the structure we had with Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) or Mitch Marsh or Trav Head coming in behind me, they were phenomenal strikers of the ball who did their thing.

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"And they're going to be awesome, it'll work itself out. But that team is just working through its tempo, working out who's going to be doing that role for different times. But they can all do it and they'll work it out.

"And when they do click, I know that England team are setting the benchmark at the moment, but there's no reason the Australian team won't do exactly the same thing. With more firepower and more options."

Bailey, one of nine Australians to have scored more than 3,000 career runs and average more than 40, batted at No.4 in 52 of his 90 career games.

But he was dropped after a lean end to 2016 and has been followed at second drop by seven different players since then, who have collectively averaged just 23 from 19 matches.

Meanwhile, Bailey continued to churn out runs at domestic level and averaged 68.50 in 50-over cricket for Hampshire and Tasmania last year.

While a shock recall for Cameron White this summer was a win for the old guard, Bailey is at peace that his international career – which included an Ashes whitewash, three ODI centuries, 29 games as captain and a World Cup triumph – is all but over.

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"I had a great run," the 35-year-old says. "Whenever it finished I was going to be gutted because it was just awesome to be a part of the Australian team.

"I feel pretty blessed."