With a series of ODI matches in English conditions under the belt, Pakistan will come into the 2019 Cricket World Cup ready to rumble, but their recent results suggest it could be a long six weeks for Sarfraz Ahmed’s side.
There was always going to be a dramatic period of change in the Australian side with Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Chris Rogers, Ryan Harris and now Shane Watson announcing their retirements.
The interesting part about this is that it’s hardly what Cricket Australia wanted.
The Test side looks fresh and inexperienced, and with David Warner set to miss the series in Bangladesh next month, a lot will be left to the new Australian captain Steve Smith.
What this side needs right now is experience and leadership to assist Smith. I am looking forward to seeing younger and in some cases untried players brought into the side as they look to the future.
West Australian Cameron Bancroft, Queenslanders Usman Khawaja, Joe Burns and Chris Lynn are all contenders to bat in the top six.
It is a period of significant change.
Questions beg coming into both the Bangladesh series and the home summer beginning at the Gabba in less than two months’ time now. Will Australia keep Adam Voges in the side after a couple of reasonable performances later in the Ashes, somewhat glossing over the troubles he had early on?
Which brings me to another man: George Bailey. The situation right now makes me think Australia need to pick Bailey for the Bangladesh tour primarily for his leadership abilities and character.
Does he deserved to be selected? Based on numbers and performances previously at Test level, probably not.
Bailey is the current vice captain of the ODI side and has previously led the national T20 side for some time.
I won’t ignore his numbers and failings though. Bailey was a part of the 5-0 whitewash in the 2013-14 home Ashes series against England, yet aside from a half century at Adelaide and a whirlwind clubbing off a Jimmy Anderson over in Perth, his contributions with the bat were minimal. He scored 183 runs at 26 in that series, being the only member of Australia’s top seven not to score a century.
He has not played a Test since.
I honestly didn’t think he quite deserved his place in the side initially, as an ordinary season in the Sheffield Shield preceded his Test inclusion.
Bringing Bailey back into the Test scene isn’t a long-term thing, it’s not going to solve any significant problems but I just think this side needs another old head and some stability in the immediate future. A batting line-up containing Bancroft, Burns, Khawaja and Mitchell Marsh is too inexperienced.
I don’t think Bailey has earnt the right to play at Test level again, however I think he has attributes that this side will require in the short-term.