The standby batsman for Michael Clarke for the World Cup will be unveiled this week after the International Cricket Council belatedly confirmed it had suspended stand-in Australian captain George Bailey for the team’s slow over-rate in Sunday’s win over India, clearing his slate for the marquee international tournament.
Expectations Bailey, who was on the brink of suspension following an over-rate penalty in the first one-dayer of the summer in Perth against South Africa, would miss his home match in Hobart were confirmed on Monday night. It is likely Steve Smith will lead the one-day team for the first time in his absence, against England at Blundstone Arena.
While Australia finished their 50 overs at the MCG 23 minutes over deadline, match referee Andy Pycroft ruled they were only one over short. As a result he imposed a 20 per cent fine and a one-match ban on Bailey, and 10 per cent fines on the other Australian players. Bailey accepted the charge.
Australia’s coach Darren Lehmann hinted on Monday morning they had already been informed of Bailey’s penalty, as they had for David Warner being slugged 50 per cent of his match fee – for a combined total of 60 per cent – for the confrontation with India’s Rohit Sharma. He agreed Australia would be better off with Bailey banned now, because it will clear his slate ahead of the World Cup and mean he would need two subsequent breaches to be banned again.
“It is a bit advantageous I suppose. But the big thing for me is now bowling our overs [quickly enough] … we’ve got three and a half hours and it took us three hours, 56 [minutes] last night. We bowled too many wides and we were too slow in between overs. We’ve got to get better at that,” he said.
“I spoke to them [players] quite firmly last night. We don’t want that happening. We want to get our overs in and get an up-tempo game, and to make sure we’re entertaining the people who’ve come along to watch in the right time-frame.”
With all-rounder Mitch Marsh still unable to resume from a hamstring injury, Lehmann confirmed a batsman would be added to the squad in place of Bailey. He also confirmed whichever batsman was chosen would be the first choice to replace Clarke in the World Cup squad if the full-time captain did not recover from his hamstring injury by the February 21 deadline imposed by selectors.
“We’ll have to work out what happens [with the ICC] in the next two days, and make some decisions there going forward to Hobart,” Lehmann said. “The advantage is it gives us a look at the spare batters. We’d love to have everyone [in the World Cup squad] fit and available but we’ve got some niggles . . . and we’ve just got to make the best choices we can.”
The lead candidates to replace Bailey in the squad for Hobart are the Melbourne Stars’ Cameron White and Perth Scorchers duo Shaun Marsh and Adam Voges. Given the Stars and Scorchers play at the MCG on Wednesday night it is possible the chosen batsman could be withdrawn in favour of joining the squad early in Hobart.
Lehmann said he was encouraged by Clarke’s current rate of recovery from hamstring surgery.
“I saw him yesterday and spoke to the surgeon; he was [also] in yesterday. He’s ahead of schedule, which is pleasing for us. He’s had a couple of bats in the nets, which is a really good thing for us, so fingers crossed,” he said.
The coach said it was “still too early to tell” if Clarke will have improved enough to feature in any of Australia’s World Cup warm-up matches in the first half of February.
“The pleasing thing is he’s back in the nets batting, and he can ramp it up a little bit this week,” he said.
Lehmann said he was hopeful all members of the World Cup squad, excluding Clarke, would be “100 per cent fit” in time for next Monday’s Australia Day one-dayer, suggesting Mitch Johnson and Mitch Marsh were on track to fully recover from their hamstring injuries.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.