Sydney: Only the second Australian cricketer to be named captain on debut in any format, Twenty20 skipper George Bailey is nervous about the challenge of proving his credentials both as a batsman and captain when he leads the side against India on Wednesday.
Bailey is the first Australian since Dave Gregory (in the first Test match in 1877) to be named captain in his first game in any format.
"I`m nervous about both. The playing aspect, you`re always anxious to get out there and perform really well. Once I get my head around knowing the players as well as I can, that (captaincy) will fall into place nicely.”
"Being captain it`s about getting around the bowlers who I haven`t met as much and know about their games and just working out exactly what they need as well."
It`s a surprise that the Australian selectors have chosen an unknown quantity to lead the national team. Usually, they pick a player and then see if he is fit for captaincy.
"It wasn`t me who picked the team. I`m just excited to be leading and continuing on the great form and the great start of the summer Australia have had," he said.
Bailey said he would to continue the momentum of Australia`s Test domination.
"When you`re playing for your country, I don`t think you`ll take it easy on them this time. Every game is about having your foot on their throat," he said at the SCG today.”
"Although it`s a different format, I think it`s important to continue the momentum of the Test team, not only in the cricket they play but also the standards they`re setting off the field, the way they`re training and the great feel around the group," he added.
Bailey also doesn`t intend to offer any concessions to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was his captain in IPL while playing for the Chennai Super Kings.
"I don`t think we`ll be making any concessions. I`m looking forward to saying good day to him but hopefully that`s at the end of the game and he`s saying well done Bails, well played. That`s as far as that goes," Bailey said.
The Tasmanian said despite the fewer number of matches in the Twenty20 format, the two sides know each other pretty well.
"We had a little chat before about a lot of their players and nearly everyone in that room has played at some stage with those Indian players. We`ve seen a lot of them over the years and they`re probably feeling the exact same way. That`s been one of the great things about the IPL," he said.
"There`s probably not as many secrets there as you would like between two international teams but what you have is healthy respect for how one another plays and a real knowledge for the contest you`re about to be in."
The Tasmanian will have to prove himself both as a leader and player all at once.
"I`d like to be scoring as many runs as I can. That`s the part of the greediness of being a batsman. Over 4-5 years of Twenty20 cricket, my record stands up against anyone.”
"I don`t know if I`ve put my own stamp on it but I`m here as captain. It`s my team, I`m trying to do things the way I like to do them. The beauty is I get along very well with Mickey. We have a very similar outlook on things. It`s a real challenge when you aren`t together much.”
"We`re trying to galvanise this group and let them know there`s a World Cup in six months and we`re the 14 that have got the first crack to prove we should be there."
Bailey wants to bring the influence of the seniors into the Twenty20 squad as well.
"We`ve spoken about the great energy that they`ve provided and the great start and feeling among that group. They feel like they`ve set a real standard and we`ve talked about that as a Twenty20 group as well, allowing the one-day side to have that feeling when they get together as well."
"Knowing you don`t get that Twenty20 group together all that often. Up until the World Cup in six months` time, we`ve got six games," Bailey said.
Bailey believed consistency was most difficult to attain in Twenty20 cricket.
"I think that`s the hardest thing to be in a Twenty20 team. The thing I`m really excited about is we`ve got a group which is full of match-winners but they are pretty consistent match-winners. It`s not too sporadic or hit and miss.”
"It`s a bit of a fluke game. You do need a slice of luck to go your way but as they say, the harder you work the luckier you get.”
"My personal feeling with Twenty20 is just to prepare really meticulously and though it`s a really short game you`ve got to have plans A, B and C up your sleeve and not be suddenly standing in the middle scratching your head wondering what am I going to do now.”
"A key part of that is to get to know the bowlers. I`m lucky to have played with three or four of them and know their games really well. There`s a couple I`m still learning but that`s the real exciting part of it as well."
Veteran pace spearhead Brett Lee obviously figures high in Bailey`s sense of estimation.
"I think his numbers of the most recent Big Bash were outstanding especially for someone who bowls in key periods at the top in that powerplay and then in death.”
"He embraces that role as the frontline leading fast bowler in our team and his experience is outstanding. The thing I love about him is how competitive he is. He just loves the contest and loves to lead from the front."