Purely looking at George Bailey’s career graph over the last year, one would easily believe that the Australian batsman must be having a fairytale season. Aayush Puthran wonders how many of his brilliant knocks, just like the one in the sixth One-Day International against India, might have ended in disappointment and tries to assess the dilemma of the Tasmanian.
The writer was at the Hard Rock Cafe a few weeks back where a certain violinist had caught enough attention for the way he weaved magic with his music. His two-piece band was beaten by another group which was a touch better. Many wondered what went through the mind of the violinist — the joy of being appreciated for his music or the pain of watching his band being edged out, not for being bad, but just because someone else was better. With a certain George Bailey, the case is all the more curious.
For a man, whose place in the Australian T20 side a year ago came under question, let alone his captaincy, Bailey has today become their most consistent batsman in the absence of Michael Clarke. He has worked his way up, not only proving the critics wrong, but also by making a mark for himself. But one would wonder what Bailey would be feeling about his consistently good performances yielding equally consistent results that are not in sync.
Bailey scored a superlative 156 off 114 balls against India in the sixth One-Day International (ODI) on Wednesday. But it went in vain as India won the match. He is much in the shoes of a Brian Lara, minus the sheer talent of the latter. Just like the great West Indian, who broke into the side that was on a decline after achieving the highs of world cricket, Bailey too has been handed over the reins where his solo shows won’t be good enough to achieve the desired results. He has to do much more.
Bailey has averaged a staggering 68.37 in the 21 ODIs he has played in the last one year with a career strike-rate of nearly 93. And thus it becomes imperative to decide as to what role he would be playing in Australia’s ODI set-up during the ICC World Cup 2015. If Clarke decides to give up on the limited-overs format given his back problem, it will be interesting to see how Bailey goes about his business in building a team.
He is good enough to lead from the front. But, if he chooses to become the captain of the Imran Khan mould, he would realise that he doesn’t have the kind of talent that the Pakistani legend had to back him.
Maybe, he needs to pick the essentials of the Clive Lloyds and the Mike Brearleys and inspire the likes of Shane Watson and David Warner to come to the fore; back his boys like a Stephen Fleming would do to come good and achieve their potential best than just hope to inspire them by his own performances.
If Bailey indeed manages to do that, maybe he wouldn’t have to go through the kind of dilemma that he does despite putting on displays of some superlative performances.
(Aayush Puthran is a reporter with CricketCountry. Mercurially jovial, pseudo pompous, perpetually curious and occasionally confused, he is always up for a light-hearted chat over a few cups of filter kaapi!)