George Bailey dismisses Ian Chappell's criticism of India-Australia series being badly timed

George Bailey (above) will lead Australia in the absence of the injured Michael Clarke during their tour of India for a one-off T20I and a seven-match ODI series © Getty Images

Mumbai: Oct 7, 2013

Stand-in Australia captain George Bailey brushed aside the criticism of former captain Ian Chappell that the One-Day International (ODI) series against India was ill-timed as it was being held just ahead of the Ashes 2013-14 series against England.

“I don’t think his comments have any bearing on the team. I don’t think he has been involved with the Australian cricket team in a very very long time. I don’t think his comments have any particular relevance to this group at all,” the Aussie captain said.

Bailey, who will lead Australia in the absence of the injured Michael Clarke, said the Ashes series was a long way off and the focus was on the eight games the team will play in India.

“In terms of international cricket, it is months away. We have got eight games here. We get back and have our round of First-Class matches as well. It is a lot to get to before we start the focus on the Ashes.

“Certainly as far as this group goes, there is more of a focus on the ICC World Cup 2015 (to be jointly hosted by his country and New Zealand),” said the Tasmanian.

Australia play one Twenty20 International and then follow that up with a seven-match ODI series against the reigning world champions.

The 31-year-old visiting captain also said the way the Australians bounced back to win the ODI series in England after the disappointing display in the Ashes and in the preceding ICC Champions Trophy 2013 was a big confidence booster.

“It was great. It was disappointing how we played in the Champions Trophy. India played so well there and we felt the rain had robbed us of a legitimate chance to have a crack at that tournament. We played some really good one-day cricket to finish off the summer in Australia against the West Indies.

“So we were feeling pretty confident and it was nice to come across to England on the back of the disappointing Ashes, to see the guys who had been involved in the series to bounce back and perform really strongly,” he said.

Conceding that the current Australian team did not indulge in making predictions ahead of the series like the ones that had the likes of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne in them, Bailey said his team did not have superstars like the two all-time greats.

“We are very polite. I certainly think for Glenn and Shane, it was a way to challenge themselves. That was the way they got themselves fired up for the series. I think this group doesn’t need to do that. We have got enough challenges.

“We probably don’t have the superstars of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne. We don’t rely heavily on any one or two players.

“If we are going to play good one-day cricket and if we are going to win this series, we need all 13 or 14 of us playing really well. And that is probably one of the major differences to that series that we won previously. It is going to be a well rounded effort, if we are going to win,” he said.

Bailey said the past good record of the Aussies in India in ODIs — they won 4-2 on two previous occasions before losing 0-1 in the rain-affected series in 2010-11 — did not count for much as the team composition was different along with other variables.

“I find it hard to compare because the conditions change. A lot of things are variable. The game has changed. We have got guys playing T20 on a regular basis now. Back then it wasn’t so prevalent.

“We have got guys who can turn the game with five overs to go in a 50-over match. The whole contest is a little bit different now. Twenty20, obviously back then was played little, so you can’t compare the players back then to the players of the modern day,” he said.

Agreeing his team was inexperienced, coach Steve Rixon saw it as a challenge to be surmounted.

“The inexperience is one of our learning curves at the moment. We have to get past that. It is probably our weakness, however, it is also our strength. Youthful exuberance often can be very good when it comes to the final crunches.

“George is relatively new at the captaincy but he has been around for some time. We are very confident about the job that George does. He has done it with distinction in Twenty20 and he gets his opportunity with the one day competition now.”

Bailey did not read too much into the absence of a warm-up game for the team or the advancement by one hour of match timings for the ODIs in the wake of the dew factor.

“Most of the guys have been playing a little bit of cricket whether it is here or at home. The season has just started at home. Guys have just come off the English tour, Champions League, as far as match readiness goes, we should be good.

“I don’t think it (advancement of timing) makes a huge difference. It (dew) certainly comes into play in couple of other grounds here and there is no doubt about that. We have to try and be aware once again most of our players have played at the ground, so we will be able to work out which ground would be affected more by dew.

“Generally here, the wickets are good one-day wickets, [leading to] good even contest between the bat and ball. So, I don’t think it will make too much difference,” he concluded.

(With inputs from PTI)