Whole team needs to step up: Bailey
The Australians have returned to India this time to take on MS Dhoni’s men in the shorter formats of the game. As they look to take on the No.1 ranked ODI side, they will be missing the services of key player and captain, Michael Clarke. George Bailey, who will be leading the side in the absence of Clarke, addressed the media in Mumbai with coach Steve Rixon ahead of the only T20I and seven ODI series slated to begin October 10.
Agreeing that they will be missing Clarke, Rixon likened the impact of his absence to India missing their captain. “You take MS Dhoni out (of the India side), that probably answers the question,” he said when asked how much it would hurt the visitors.
Although they will be without Clarke, the tourists are ranked No.2 in the ICC rankings and have a competitive squad. The contest between the teams is expected to be a mouthwatering one. Speaking about the upcoming matches, Rixon said, “That is the character. We look at the tournament, not just a tournament but a chance to be No.1 in the world in one of the three formats. It is very important for the players and for coaching staff and for Cricket Australia.”
Although the Australians had a poor run earlier in the year, having lost the Test series to India and meeting with a similar fate in the Ashes, they have received a boost to their confidence after defeating England 2-1 in the NatWest series last month. As they look to shape the side with their sights on the 2015 World Cup, the coach said, “It is one of our learning curves at the moment. We have got to pass that. It’s probably a nemesis. But we want to let the younger players develop and in doing so we have a strong competition around us, which bring the guys on very quickly. George is relatively new to captaincy. In the time that he has been captain, he is very competitive with the job. He has done it with distinction in T20 and now gets an opportunity to do it in the one-day competition. It is probably our weakness, however it is also our strength as youthful exuberance often can be very good when it comes to final approaches.”
“It was great (to win in England). I think we were really disappointed by how we played in the Champions Trophy. (....) We played some really good one-day cricket to finish off the summer in Australia. We were feeling pretty confident. It was nice to come to England on the back of the disappointing Ashes and to see the guys who have been involved in that series to bounce back and perform really strongly. That was another great sign and another opportunity here to continue to do it in challenging conditions,” the captain said.
“We don’t rely heavily on any one or two players. If we are going to play good one day cricket, if we win this series, we will need all 13 or 14 of us to play really well,” he added.
Since there have been no warm-up games, asked if they are treating the T20 as warm-up. “You have got to get in there and get running. It is nice to see guys play some cricket, whether it is here or at home. Guys have just come off the England tour and CLT20. So as far as match readiness goes, we should be good.”
Five of their players – Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Shane Watson, James Faulkner and Mitchell Johnson – have been playing in CLT20 and were involved in the final, which is an added advantage for the team. “We have been fortunate to have five of them playing. We are in a reasonable position. End result it’s the guys who have not been playing a lot of cricket. Get them up and ready Leading to the T20 and the seven ODIs. Once that happens, we are ready for the contest,” Rixon mentioned.
Discussing the advantages of being part of the Indian Premier League as well as the Champions League T20, Bailey who has been part of the Chennai Super Kings, said, “I guess we do and we do not. One of the great things about IPL over the years is we have played on a lot of grounds against the best players. All of us have played with and against a lot of the Indian players and vice-versa. We know a lot of strengths and weaknesses, a lot about personalities. Some advantages for both the teams. But also there are some areas to try and exploit.”
“It not just about knowing the players but also knowing how to combat those players. Having been involved in CLT20, we have seen the likes of Suresh Raina, the way he is playing. We have seen the likes of MS Dhoni, the way he is playing, also Ravichandran Ashwin. But we still have to be able to combat that. We have got a plenty of hard work to do. The advantage is, as George rightly said, we got to see them regularly now. We have got more chance of actually combating that,” Rixon added.