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Bailey Ashes call could upset Hants plans
7:40am Thursday 14th March 2013 in Sport
HAMPSHIRE’S plans for the 2013 season could be thrown into disarray when Australia name their Ashes tour party.
Batsman George Bailey has been recruited as the Royals’ main overseas player for the forthcoming domestic season which starts in the second week of April. But there is a growing feeling in Australia that the Tasmania skipper, 30, could be included in the Ashes squad.
Chairman of selectors, John Inverarity, believes Bailey “could improve the Test side”.
The Aussies’ Ashes plans are in disarray following the controversial decision to drop four players, including top-order batsman Shane Watson.
Batsman Usman Khawaja and fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson and James Pattinson were also made unavailable for the third Test against India in Mohali for failing to fulfil a routine task set by coach Mickey Arthur.
Inverarity said: “George is one who could improve the Test side. He’s experienced and he’s got a good head on his shoulders so we’ll see.”
Another Australian selector, ex-Hampshire all-rounder Andy Bichel, has also praised Bailey.
“George is definitely a massive chance to be picked for The Ashes,” Bichel, below, admitted.
“He’s come of age as an international batsman this summer and is starting to play the way we know he can play. He’s learned how to get the best out of himself as a batsman, he’s a good leader, and he now knows that he belongs at the top level.
“He’s starting to get the best out of his ability and he’s well suited to playing Test cricket as well. “There are no guarantees for anyone but George is very close [to the Test side].”
Bailey is expected to make his Hampshire debut when the season begins against Leicestershire at The Ageas Bowl on April 10.
But an Ashes call-up this summer would reduce his availability significantly as he is also expected to be involved in the one-day and t20 series against England in late August as well as the Champions Trophy in June.