Bailey vows to eliminate bad habits

The limited-overs arena provided George Bailey with his chance to wear the baggy green but also sowed the seeds for his Test downfall.

Dumped from the tour of South Africa, Australia's Twenty20 captain and newly crowned one-day international player of the year has vowed to eliminate the "bad habits" he developed from the shorter forms as he strives for a second stint at Test cricket.

The Tasmanian had said prior to his Test debut that at age 31 he most likely had just one chance at showing he belonged in the five-day game but is now hoping he can prove himself wrong.

What should have been a night of celebration for Bailey became a bittersweet experience after his Test axing but the batsman has already taken heart from a conversation with coach and selector Darren Lehmann.

He came away from their discussions on Sunday under no illusion he needs to improve his play against pace. Five of his seven dismissals against England came via either the hook shot – a stroke he normally plays well – or more concerningly catches behind the wicket fishing outside off stump.

"I've got some things to work on against good quality fast bowling which at times I think I've dealt with pretty well," Bailey said. "I've probably got into some bad habits playing a lot of short-form cricket so I've got to go away and work out how to get rid of those and work out how to adapt really quickly which you see Pup [Michael Clarke] and Steve Smith do really well."

This summer was not the first time Bailey, who had two Shield games to warm up for the Ashes after a month of pyjama cricket in India, has struggled with the transition from limited overs cricket to the longer forms. He made only 256 runs at 18 for Tasmania in the Shield last season during which he switched formats 18 times.

It will be a problem Bailey will have to again overcome next month when he finishes Twenty20 duties with Australia and Hobart for the final few rounds of the Shield season.

How he fares for Tasmania in those games will influence his chances of earning a recall for the series against Pakistan in October – Australia's next mission after South Africa.

Having had a taste of Test cricket, Bailey, who handled his axing with typical grace and dignity, said he was now hooked and craving for another crack at the big time.

"I'll tell you what, those five Tests if they're not the most addictive thing to be a part of and want to get back and feel that once again I don't think I've ever had a greater motivation," Bailey said.

Bailey said he had been "hoping more than expecting" to tour South Africa but knew with 183 runs from five Tests at an average of 26 he did not have a compelling case to present to selectors. "I would have liked to have contributed more in those runs and if you'd done that then it would have been an expectation to be on that flight as opposed to a hope," Bailey said.

"I can't really fault it. I think I said at the start of the series at 31 you probably only get one crack at it but I'm hoping now to prove myself wrong."

That comment drew a laugh from Clarke, who gave a glowing character reference about Bailey. "I think Bails is a great example of someone that probably didn't perform as well as he would have liked personally throughout the Ashes series but I can't tell you the benefit of having him around the group, his leadership on and off the field, his attitude," Clarke said.

"And that takes more courage and character than when you're making hundreds or taking five-fors. To be able to give so much back to the team when you're not performing personally, I think that's the most underrated thing in sport and I think he's been a great example.

"That's why the whole team feels for him that he's not coming to South Africa with us."

The story Bailey vows to eliminate bad habits first appeared on Brisbane Times.

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