Cricket: Australia honing culture of success, says Bailey

Australian captain George Bailey has defended his teammates. Photo / AP
Australian captain George Bailey has defended his teammates. Photo / AP

Australia's one-day captain George Bailey has launched a spirited defence of the team's culture, claiming it's easy to make cheap shots when the team isn't winning.

In an extract from his book, At the Close of Play, long-time Australian captain Ricky Ponting reveals he had concerns about Michael Clarke's leadership qualities when the test captaincy was being handed over.

Ponting also questioned the transformation of the team's culture over the past decade - specifically related to the attitude towards unwinding with teammates in the change rooms after play.

Speaking after Australia's commanding 72-run victory over India to open the seven-match series, Bailey, who is stepping in while Clarke recovers from a back injury, jumped on the front foot.

While deeply respectful of Ponting's views, which have been echoed in part by the recently-retired Michael Hussey and former players Ian Healy and Matt Hayden, Bailey took exception to question marks being raised on the team culture.

"I think it's easy when the team is not winning," Bailey said. "I think that's the first thing that people talk about.

"I think it's so hard to [define culture] and it's not something you train. It's something you can't fake. It's one of those things. It's great for people to say they have it or they don't, but actually how that happens I don't know."

Bailey pointed to Australia's teams from the early 2000s, which were dominant on the field and have been described as having a strong team culture.

However, those teams often dealt with rifts between star players - a point Bailey believes is overlooked because of their on-field success.

"When that Australian team of the early 2000s was playing, there were some guys in there who didn't get along," he said. "But you would say the culture was fantastic. They had respect for how they played.

"I'm really proud to be in this change room. I think we're going great places."

Bailey also threw his support behind Clarke and coach Darren Lehmann, saying the atmosphere they were creating was one of success.

"Since Darren's come on board as well, his big influence, and what he talks a lot about is family, about team, about manners.

"I certainly think we're on the right track, no doubt about that."

Australia won the opening game in their seven-match ODI series against India by 72 runs in Pune yesterday, Bailey's 85 helping his team to 304 for eight. India were dismissed for 232.

The second ODI is at Jaipur tomorrow night.


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