George Bailey: 16 little-known facts about the ever-smiling Australian

Born September 7, 1982, in Launceston, Tasmania, George John Bailey is an Australian cricketer, who is widely regarded for his leadership skills. On his 33rd birthday, Suvajit Mustafi looks at 15 facts about Australia s ever-smiling assassin.

1. Great-great grandson of George Bailey: Bailey s great-great-grandfather is George Herbert Bailey, who was a part of the historic 1878 touring Australian squad to England.

2. Excelled in several sports: Bailey wasn t just the cricket captain of the Launceston Church Grammar School. He was good enough to play at the under-18 level for Tasmania and also attracted interest of AFL scouts. Bailey was also a very good tennis player.

3. Academics: Bailey is the guy that every parent will wish for. Not just sports, Bailey was also good with drama and public speaking, and yes, he scored high 90s in his HSC.

4. Interest in gardening: In an interview with Sydney Morning Herald, Bailey s father John spoke about his son s other interest. He’s got a lot of interests which might not sound like a rough and tough footballer or cricketer. He likes his garden. When he comes home we talk a bit about cricket but he and his mother spend a lot of time walking around the garden in their house, said John in an interview.

5. Early disciplinary lessons: Bailey loved to play tennis and once his father banned him from playing the game because he wasn t happy with his son s behaviour. George had dropped the racquet. He learned from that and according to his father he never repeated the act.

6. Letter to Ed Cowan: In his book, In the Firing Line: Diary of a Season, Ed Cowan wrote highly of Bailey. He recalled an instance when Bailey penned him a lengthy mail explaining what the opener needed to do to improve his game in one-day cricket. There s the leader and team-man in Bailey.

7. One of those guys who brings teams together : In an article in Sydney Morning Herald, fellow Tasmanian Ricky Ponting spoke highly about Bailey. He described him as, One of those guys who brings teams together. His personality rubs off on everybody. Anyone who has played with him will know and understand that.

8. Hollywood connections: He shares his name with American actor George William Bailey. Also in the 1946 film It s a Wonderful Life, James Stewart played the role of the protagonist whose name was George Bailey .

9. Captaincy on debut: After immense success a captain for Tasmania, Bailey was made the Australian Twenty20 International (T20I) captain in 2012. On February 2012, in his first international game for Australia, Bailey captained the side to a win against the touring Indians. He became the second ever-Australian cricketer to captain his country on international debut after Dave Gregory, who had captained the side in the country s first ever Test in 1877.

10. Bradmanesque numbers: Bailey was in an exceptional form when he led Australia in an ODI series in India in 2013. Though Australia lost the series, Bailey scored 478 runs in the series at 95.60 and they came at phenomenal strike-rate of 108.62. He had shot up to the No. 2 spot in the ICC ODI batsmen s ranking.

11. Channel Nine controversy and Bailey flipping burgers : In early 2013, the Australians rested Michael Clarke, David Warner and Matthew Wade from the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka. That led to criticism from Channel Nine‘s head of sport.Bailey leading the side defended and said that he could understand such talks coming from Channel Nine as the network had entered a new negotiating period over cricket’s television rights.

The network s executive producer of cricket Brad McNamara criticised Bailey: It s rubbish, and George should stick to playing cricket and leave rights to the people who know what they re talking about. I reckon he s got his hands full as it is. He needs to concentrate on staying in the side. And he needs to understand where his money’s coming from. Without the TV rights deal, George is probably working in a coalmine or flipping burgers at McDonald s. All this talk about the death of one-day cricket, it’s not coming from us. Given we were lacking star quality, we were very happy [with the ratings].

Quite rightly, McNamara s comments were laughed at.

12. Equalling Brian Lara s world record

During the WACA Test of the 2013-14 Ashes, Bailey hit 28 runs off an over from James Anderson. In doing so, he equalled Brian Lara s record for the most runs off an over in Test cricket.

13. A unique feat and 100 per cent win record in the World Cup as captain: Bailey has played only one World Cup game. Against England in the opening game of the 2015 edition, Bailey scored 55 and led his team to a win only to be dropped from the next game as regular captain Michael Clarke had returned. Australia went on to win the World Cup and all Bailey played was one game that too as a captain.

14. IPL and franchise cricket: After spending a few seasons in the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) dugout, Bailey was bought by Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in IPL auctions 2014. In his very first season with the side, he led KXIP to the final to the tournament. In BBL he has played for Melbourne Stars and now captains Hobart Hurricanes. In 2016, he played in the IPL for the MS Dhoni-led Rising Pune Supergiants.

15. English county cricket Bailey has played for Scotland and Hampshire. He appeared for Sussex as well. In the 2017 season, he again represented Hampshire.

16. Hero in Sri Lanka: Australia were whitewashed 3-0 in Sri Lanka in the Test series in 2016. The hosts were competitive in the ODIs as well but Bailey excelled in the 50-over format. He was awarded the Man of the Series for amassing 270 runs at 67.5 as Australia won the series 4-1. However, in the next 8 innings for Australia, he managed to score only 154 at 22, and was dropped from the side.

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sportsmarketer , strategist, entrepreneur, philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)