Inverarity: Bailey an Ashes contender

Australia

Australia ODI captain George Bailey may well have done enough in recent months to get his name on the Ashes team sheet, even though his domestic numbers don't tell a compelling story.

Australia ODI captain George Bailey may well have done enough in recent months to get his name on the Ashes team sheet, even though his domestic numbers don't tell a compelling story.

Bailey averages over 53 in ODIs and has been the top run-getter in the format this year, which the selectors feel is more important in terms of international pressure than poor scores in Shield and English County cricket.

Chief selector John Inverarity said: "His performance in ODI cricket has been outstanding. Since he started 18 months ago he's been our best-performed one-day player in terms of average, aggregate runs, strike-rate.

"He's just been outstanding, so it's a thrill to see him coming on and playing so well. When we look at a player we look at four things: their batting, their bowling, their fielding, and their character or what else they bring to the team.

"George certainly brings a great deal in that character category to the team. He's a very mature, calm young man. I think you'll have seen [that] in his batting performances. Difficult situations bring out the best in him."

When asked why Bailey, and Steve Smith, wasn't in the Australia A side for the warm-up game in Hobart, the boss said he didn't think Bailey needed to be there as they knew enough about his style and play already.

Inverarity said: "The general feeling is we thought George has gone past that. That's more development, and he's firmly entrenched as an Australian player.

"All performances are important, but we're not going to select the Ashes team just on the performances of that round of Shield and [the] Australia A game. Our minds are well made up before that.

"We're very well advanced on our planning. Almost all the places we know who is going to be in the Test team. It's probably the last one or two places [that are not yet settled], that's all.

"As long as we're not plagued by further injuries, we're pretty settled with where we're at. I think we're more settled and at a better place now than we were when we went away for the Ashes in England."

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