George Bailey says Australia have not lost their fighting spirit

Last Updated: Wed, Oct 09, 2013 14:59 hrs

The standard of the Australian cricket team has declined over the years but stand-in ODI skipper George Bailey is confident that his young brigade still has the firepower to overcome a formidable opposition like India.

"I am not sure if it has been missing for the entire two years. What we have lost is a lot of experience. We are trying to rebuild that. Guys are getting used to being in this side, being used to the scrutiny and pressure of international cricket. And to the different roles within the Australian side that they are playing," Bailey told reporters ahead of their lone T20 clash against India here on Thursday.

"The fighting spirit is still there it is just a matter of getting it out there consistently. That is what you want from your side to play really good cricket consistently," he said.

Fully aware that the team from Down Under will have to bring out their best to cope with spin-friendly conditions on the tour, Bailey said they are always evolving to combat the subcontinental art.

"It is a big focus every time we arrive here on how we are going to play the spinners and are always working towards it. It is as much about having a really clear plan. I think we have got a number of players who play spin very well. It is just the matter of executing that in the heat of the battle," the 31-year-old said.

"First and foremost that is about having a really clear plan and working through that with your partner at the middle. Summing up the situation of when and where to go. So all of those things you take into account and also the fact that India have got some quality spinners at the moment." Touted as underdogs for the upcoming series, the Tasmanian said it is difficult predict favourites in the shortest format of the game.

"In a one-match series, it is hard to have favourites, particularly in a format like T20 where one individual over, one performance with the bat can take away the game so quickly. So if there is a favourite, then it is by a very small margin," he said.

Bailey said his side will be aggressive against comeback man Yuvraj Singh who has the potential to change the complexion of the match in India's favour.

"There were a few highlights on TV last night of couple of Indian victories over Australia recently and Yuvraj was prominent in those. He is a really dangerous player and his power is the thing that you really need to be careful of.

"He can come in and look very casual and work you around and then just has the capacity to clear the ropes. I think, with him it is just about being really clear on your plans and try to stay really aggressive throughout his innings," he said.

Yuvraj was recalled to the squad after a string of very good scores for India A against West Indies A and a solid display for India Blue in the NKP Salve Challenger Series.

Bailey acknowledged that the opponents had a lot of experienced players and potential match winners and said, "their record speaks for itself in the shorter format. Plenty of special players. They are a very good team."

21-year old opener from New South Wales, Nic Maddinson will make his international debut in tomorrow's match.

"We haven't set our squad (playing 11). Nic Maddinson will certainly play though. But we haven't had a look at the wicket yet. It was covered since we have arrived. Nic, I think, this format really suits him. 

Bailey further added,"He has a had a good  Australia winter for us and it is about him continuing that. An aggressive player, he loves to take the game on. A handy left-arm spin as well, and that is certainly we look for guys who can add another string to their bow," he said.

There was a heavy downpour yesterday and the wicket was covered and Bailey said,"I don't think any of the guys have actually been to this ground. It doesn't look particularly big but we would really like to have a look at the wicket before we know that side."

The touring side had a three-day practice session at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai before the start of the series.

"Training was good. The boys who were involved in the Champions League were slotted in for that second session. Obviously being here for a couple of weeks, they are ready to go. So they were pretty light in terms of just getting ready. For the rest of the guys, it was a good couple of days and a bit of time getting used to the conditions," he said.

Bailey, who has captained Australia in T20 since his debut, felt that his country did not jump at the opportunity of playing the shortest format of the game unlike others.

"I feel in Australia, we were slow to take on the T20 cricket. Probably didn't take it seriously for the first couple of years, so it has been a little bit of catch-up. I think the Big Bash is great for players to play under some pressure and certainly under the watchful eye of the public. It generates a lot of interest back home.

"If you see some of the young Indian players come through and debut and played very well internationally at a young age, a lot of that can be traced to the fact that they have played in front of big crowds, in big pressure moments so they know how to handle that when they do get their opportunity," he said.

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