ICC Champions Trophy 2013: George Bailey says leading Australia is 'dream come true’

George Bailey (above) has led Australia in the absence of Michael Clarke © Getty Images

London: Jun 16, 2013

Stand-in captain George Bailey insists leading Australia during the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 tournament in England has been a “dream come true” despite the distractions of the David Warner affair.

The 30-year-old Tasmanian, already Australia’s Twenty20 captain, has found himself in charge of the One-Day International (ODI) side while regular captain Michael Clarke has been sidelined with a recurrence of his longstanding back problem.

Bailey responded by top-scoring for defending champions Australia with 55 in their tournament-opening defeat by England at Edgbaston and made the same score in their no result washout with New Zealand when they returned to the Birmingham ground on Wednesday.

In between those fixtures it emerged Warner had attacked England’s Joe Root in a Birmingham bar in the early hours of Sunday morning — something Bailey tried to brush aside as a “very minor incident”.

Nevertheless, Warner was suspended until the start of the Ashes by Cricket Australia on Thursday and fined USD 11,000.

However, the controversial opener will be available for the first Ashes Test against England in Nottingham, which starts on July 10.

Bailey, asked if leading Australia in a major international tournament in England had been everything he dreamed it would be so far, replied: “Every day brings something different and something unique, and something that’s sometimes challenging, sometimes enjoyable, sometimes a bit of both.

“Absolutely it is, it’s a dream come true, really.”

Bailey though cannot wait for Clarke’s return and is hopeful the star batsman will be fit to face Sri Lanka at the Oval on Monday in the last game in Group A — a match Australia must win to have any chance at all of reaching the Champions Trophy semi-finals.

“I’m pretty anxious for ‘Pup’ [Clarke] to come back. As a cricketer and as a leader, I think it will be good for this team to have him back,” said Bailey.

“I know I’ve said it every game, but I’m hopeful for the next game. But this time we’re certainly looking like we’re having him for Monday.”