australia, george bailey, selector, ian healy critique, sitting with players, dug out, president of selectors, influence, acting, conflict

Australian cricket great Ian Healy has questioned George Bailey’s influence within the team after the chairman of the selectors was seen sitting in the dugout with players.

Bailey, a former Aussie T20 captain who recently retired in 2020, was appointed as the new selection chief in August 2021, taking over from Trevor Hohns’ long tenure.

But former captain Ian Healy has questioned why someone like Bailey would be among the players during the dismal T20 World Cup campaign and in Thursday night’s one dayer against England.

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“It’s very interesting,” Healy said on his SEN show.

“George Bailey is a good thrower, he can give an extra coach around the traps… but he’s not an extra coach, is he? He’s a selector.

“I think players in form wouldn’t mind (having him next to them); I think players with bad form would hate it and should start acting.

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“I think that injured players with small or maybe bigger problems would not like to have the president of the selectors so close.

“The reserves in that dugout, are they acting?

“If the acting isn’t right…they can be exposed.

“The current mood on that team can change… that can cause stress with the selector so outspoken and so close.”

Healy said that given there were controversial calls during the T20 World Cup campaign, where Australia missed the final, he wasn’t sure how players would feel with Bailey sitting next to them.

“We traded (Mitchell) Starc for (Kane) Richardson at a time when we were out for wickets. We kept Steve Smith out (of the T20 World Cup),” he said.

“We let players who were out of shape stay in that team in that T20 World Cup and that was all while the chairman of the squad was in the dugout and was very, very close to the personality of the squad.

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“If he asks you a question (players would go), ‘okay, what do I have to tell him?’

Bailey was filmed laughing with star duo Warner and Marnus Labuschagne during Thursday night’s victory over England.

Dayne Zorko, fellow SEN panelist and current Brisbane Lions captain, likened Bailey’s presence in the dugout to having his list manager on the substitution bench.

“It’s very strange, especially when you’re an edge person or don’t really get a game,” he said on SEN.

“It would be like our list manager is on the bench when I get out and I haven’t had a good patch. He just looks at me (and I say) ‘Oh, I can do better!’”

The Australian cricket team is reportedly struggling with an “apparent divide” between the current players and the country’s greats.

It was reported that captain Pat Cummins has met with Adam Gilchrist this week to “cool down any tensions” since ex-coach Justin Langer was pushed out the door in February.

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