'Will back Bailey to lead Australia in World Cup if needed'
Australia pacer Mitchell Johnson Saturday backed George Bailey to fill in for Michael Clarke in the 2015 World Cup if the regular skipper's recurring hamstring problems keep him away from leading the hosts in the tournament.
Sydney: Australia pacer Mitchell Johnson Saturday backed George Bailey to fill in for Michael Clarke in the 2015 World Cup if the regular skipper's recurring hamstring problems keep him away from leading the hosts in the tournament.
Clarke is expected to captain Australia in its first home World Cup in 22 years, but persistent injuries have cast a doubt on his presence. He again injured his hamstring while he was batting Friday in his team's 32-run victory over South Africa in the first match of a five-match series.
Bailey has captained Australia in 20 ODIs, winning nine and scored 70 from 75 balls Friday.
"Those thoughts haven't come into our heads at the moment. We're obviously just focused on just this series at the moment so I don't want to think too far ahead. We'll just have to wait and see, " he said.
"George has done really well as a one-day captain so he's as prepared as he can be if that happens, but Michael will be doing everything he can to be the captain for the Australian team in a World Cup."
Johnson, crowned International Cricket Council's (ICC) Cricketer of the Year for the second time recently, said the team had not considered the idea of playing in the mega event without Clarke but will back Bailey to the hilt if the situation demands.
"We back him (Bailey) 100 per cent," Johnson said. "It's unfortunate to have this injury but George has been captain for the Australian team for a few of the formats and has done very well in the one day stuff."
The pacer also expressed his excitement at the prospect of playing in a World Cup at home.
"I love playing Test match cricket and that's the ultimate for me and if it comes down the track my body can't handle all forms I'll have to make a decision then.
"But looking at what we've got coming up I'm really keen on playing in a World Cup especially being in Australia and New Zealand, and then further down the track we've got another Ashes. We've got a lot of cricket coming up but I've got to assess that with each tour I go on," he said signing off.