NEW national selector George Bailey is ready to make the hard calls — even if it is on his current teammates Tim Paine and Matthew Wade.
Bailey, the former Australian one-day and Twenty20 skipper, will join the selection panel after this summer’s Big Bash League and knows there will be some awkward conversations with players he has shared change rooms with or played against for more than a decade. “That is what the role is, I’m certainly going in eyes wide open to the fact there are difficult conversations that will be had,” Bailey said. “With those two (Paine and Wade) in particular, it is all about being honest, it certainly won’t be my decision and my decision alone. Like any player, you work through those things hopefully together at the appropriate time.”
He made light of the scrutiny on the role, comparing it to the unusual batting stance he has adopted in the latter stages of his career. “Have you seen the way I stand when I face up to face a cricket ball?” he said. “I’m happy to cop a little bit of criticism.”
Bailey, 37, will be the first selector to have T20 experience, and brings a new set of skills having played the shortest format all around the world as well as Test cricket, county cricket and 15 years of Sheffield Shield cricket.
“My expectations are I feel like I’m a servant to the players,” he said. “Certainly the majority of players playing first class cricket, their dream is to play for Australia. “My job is to select the lucky few who get the opportunity to do that. “But you are also trying to help those who are not quite in the mix, giving them some help and advice on how you think they can get there and also the guys who have had the opportunity to and then find themselves back out of the team, you are trying to get them back into that team. “Effectively all you are trying to do is making sure that Australian cricket team is as strong as it can be at any given time.” He is available for Tasmania’s next two Shield games before playing for the Hurricanes in the Big Bash that will end his playing career, a decision he is more than comfortable with. The veteran said he was not expecting any special treatment from opposition players now he had been announced as a selector. “I feel like I get along with nearly every first class player in the country so I don’t see too much changing, I’ll see in the next couple of weeks,” Bailey said. “(But) If any of the quick bowlers want to pitch the ball up to me in the next couple of weeks, that would be well received.”