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Mitchell Johnson questions George Bailey’s credibility as head selector

Dec 3, 2023

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George Bailey. (Photo by Steve Bell/Getty Images)

Former Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson has been catching every headline since his scathing attack on David Warner, stating that the veteran does not deserve a “hero’s send-off” after his involvement in the 2018 ball tampering scandal.

Johnson brought in head selector George Bailey into the mix as well, opining that the former skipper got the role in the board while he was still too close with many players in the squad. He brought up the example of former skipper Tim Paine, whose career was jolted with a sexting controversy. However, selector Bailey left it to Justin Langer and fellow selector Tony Dodemaide to work it out as he was a close friend of Paine.

“When then-captain Tim Paine’s career was ending over the sexting controversy, chairman of selectors George Bailey said he didn’t want to be part of deciding Paine’s fate because the pair were close friends,” Johnson wrote in his column for The West Australian.

“Bailey said he would leave it to then coach Justin Langer and fellow selector Tony Dodemaide to work it out. The handling of Warner in recent years, who played with Bailey in all three forms, raises the question of whether Bailey was simply too quickly out of playing and into the job and too close to some of the players,” he added.

Responsing to Johnson’s comments, Bailey stated that being distant with the players and not knowing what is going on with the team would never be beneficial for anyone. He gave the reply after Johnson stated that the selector role seems like a job for the “inner sanctum”.

“My only observation would be if someone could show me how being distant and unaware of what players are going through and what the plans are with the team and with the coaching staff—how that’s more beneficial—I’d be all ears,” Bailey was quoted as saying by The Sydney Morning Herald.

Bailey also backed his decision to select Warner in the Test team, stating that his ability to dominate opposition attack sets him apart and it will be difficult for Australia to find his replacement just like it was hard to fill Shane Warne’s void after his retirement.

“Ultimately, we still think he’s in our best 11 players to win the first Test. I think Test cricket, in terms of the way that the World Test Championship points is set up, each Test is critical. There’s points on the line for each and every game. So our focus is very much on picking the 11 that we think can do the job and obviously there’s roles within that for each individual and how that actually structures up the team as a whole and we think David is the right person for that for this Test.”
“That ability to put the opposition under pressure is pretty special, and not to be taken lightly,” Bailey said. “Whenever you’ve had someone who’s had that longevity and been so dominating in a role, [it’s important] just to temper the expectations of whoever is going to be the replacement there.
“I think back to Warnie finishing up as a spinner and how many spinners got brought in and shuffled out in the quest to almost try and replicate Warnie. And I don’t think you ever try and replicate someone who’s played a role for as long as someone has done it as well as they have and I’d put David in that category, the way he’s opened the batting for Australia for such a long period of time. So that’s something that we’re certainly conscious of making sure that that fit post-David is the right one.”

 

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