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Not under more pressure than any other captain: Bailey

Australia captain says Clarke's absence will be felt, but it's a great opportunity to prove the team's worth

Not under more pressure than any other captain: Bailey - Cricket News
Australian captain George Bailey addresses the media.
I guess only one place to start with the news about the skipper; what is your reaction to that? Is it a really a big blow to the team?                
There's no doubt it's a blow. We'd love to have Pup with us as a batsman and as our captain. But it is what it is, and we have to deal with the fact that we don't have him for tomorrow. The challenge is there and the opportunity is there for the rest of us to step up, and I know it will be a great boost to the side to know that we can win without him. We had to do it quite a bit over the summer in the One-Day format, so we know we can.                  

I know you're not a medical man, but it must be about keeping him right now?
I'm sure all of those that worry about those sorts of things will be getting that right. I know talking to him last night he's still really keen to trying to be right for Game 2, Game 3. Once again, if we can win this game that gives him a little bit of breathing space and a little less pressure to get back to New Zealand. But knowing Pup, the sensible thing you would think would be to get right. He's desperate to play in this tournament than going forward One-Day Cricket as well. So I think he's doing everything he can.                  

What about you, George, being elevated into the captaincy? I know you've done it before and you were Twenty20 captain, but it's big pressure for you, big game against England and the first of 26 and all of that?
Yeah, it is. But I don't really see it as ‑‑ I'm not under any more pressure than any other captain. First and foremost, my role is to score runs in that middle-order for us. If I can do that, we have enough guys and our players have played enough cricket to know the basics of the game. I'm not going to do anything as a captain that's going to revolutionise the game. It's all pretty basic stuff that we've got to do well and we've got to do better than the other five.                

But first and foremost, my role is to score runs. So whether you're captain, vice-captain or whatever is next to your game, that doesn't change.                

The fact that you're a temporary captain, does that not have an effect on the side going out?
It may do. You'd have to talk to the individuals. But once again, I think our guys are clear enough. I'm not the one bowling the ball for them. I talked to our bowlers and we set the plans, but they're the ones executing it. It's all their skills. Shane Watson and David want to go out and open the batting. It's still the individual that ends up making the game happen. I'm just in-charge of hoping the coin lands the right way, really.            

And you feel comfortable with that?
Absolutely, absolutely. I feel like at times there is pressure from the press because you're new at it or you're less experienced, but at the end of the day, if we lose, am I judged on that? If we win, am I judged on that? Very rarely does a captain have an influence on that part other than the fact of how he performs as an individual.                  

Australia is obviously looking for a hat-trick in the Champions Trophy. But what's gone on in the past one year, you obviously lost here in England, lost the ODIs comprehensively, lost the season in India. How is the mood and belief in the camp? Can you guys realistically achieve the hat-trick?
Honestly, I reckon all sides believe they can win the tournament. There is no doubt about that. In terms of a cricket spectacle, that must be really exciting for the fans around the globe knowing that your country is in with a real shot at winning the title. We're no different to anyone else for the last 12 months.                

I think the biggest difference has been our consistency of performance. Our best is still as good as anyone else or any other teams in the world.  If we play our best cricket, I've got no doubt we can win the tournament and we probably will win the tournament. But if we don't play our best, and that's been the issue, is the gap between our best and our worst performances has probably grown for most teams that have won the Champions Trophy in the past.                

And that change, well, any team's challenge is just to close the gap between your best and your worst performances because you're not going to play your best every game.  But the challenge is to make sure that on the days you are a little off, you can find a way to put a team under enough pressure that they succumb.                 

England laughed at your experience after you got bowled out for 65 the other day. Do you believe that?
They can. It's not an ideal preparation to get bowled out for 65. But we'll start on 0.Tomorrow, they'll start on 0. How they prepare or how they take that is completely up to them.                  

There is a lot of cricket coming up between England and Australia, 10 back‑to‑back Tests. How significant is this game in terms of laying down a marker for the upcoming cricket?
It's an interesting one. I think for this tournament it's huge. I think it's such an important tournament to start well with first blood just for this tournament is big. As for the summer, I'm sure the team that wins would like to think that that takes a little momentum forward into the rest of the summer. But the effect is that it will come in over such a long period, there are so many games of cricket that will come into it, that I can't see it having a big bearing on how the rest of the summer goes. So much of it will come down to key players performing well, who is injured, who is not, and all of those things. So, more importantly I think how far it progresses in this tournament, that will certainly give the sides, the countries have a little momentum and confidence going forward, but not so much this game.                  

I don't want to appear overly negatively before a ball has been bowled. But people will look at the fact that Michael Clarke is not here and say this is Australia. I mean, what would you say about Australian cricket as you sit here now?
Oh, good on them, and why wouldn't you be thinking that?  What a great opportunity for us to prove a lot of people wrong. What a way to galvanize a side. As I said, people will have their opinions, and that's fine. Everyone's entitled to them, and a lot of them are probably well thought‑out opinions, but at the end of the day it's how you perform in the games.                

You can't completely disregard the 65, because you never want to have that in a practice game or you never want to have that in any game. It's not the ideal preparation. But hoping that certainly doesn't happen tomorrow.                  

England played cricket against New Zealand in the One-Day series, but obviously you've been over here playing county cricket and so on. Is this perhaps a good time to play them although they won the other day?
I haven't really thought of it that way. Does that mean there is a bad time to play them if this is a good time to play them? I think they've played some pretty good cricket in their One-Day. A lot has been written about it. But I think New Zealand played some really good One-Day Cricket, and they certainly threw themselves into calculations or strong calculations for this tournament as well. But the fact they won that game yesterday, they'll take a lot of confidence out of that.                

Across the three games, I think they got some really strong performances out of most of their key players, and if not, they might not be far off the mark in terms of performing at some stage. So, yeah, there is a good side.                  

This venue, Edgbaston has sort of mixed memories for Australia. Obviously, 1999 semi-final you had a tie game, and 2005, one of the greatest Ashes Test ever. So what sort of memories do the Australians have about this tournament?
I reckon if you asked half of our side, they couldn't even remember 1999. So, I don't think they'll be taking too much out of those games at all. Yeah, they're long gone. It's not like we've had recent history or trouble here. They're great games of cricket. I think as fans of cricket you hope that tomorrow will be something similar.                  

How's Mitchell Marsh? Has he reacted to being back in this environment again after a bit of a period out, injuries and a few other dramas? Has he responded to being back with a real chance to cement his spot on the team?

I think really well. Every time I've had anything to do with Mitch, I've just been really impressed. I think he really thrives around this group, thrives around having some strong players to look up to and to learn off. There is no doubt there is amazing talent. There are a lot of players a lot better around the world that have got amazing talent. So the challenge for him is to harness that and then perform on the big stage, and he's done that on numerous occasions.                

A couple of his early games for Australia he performed well, so I don't think he's daunted by playing international cricket and everything. Every time I see him, he’s wanting to learn, he's asking questions, he's doing everything he can. So, I think the real thing for him is to try to stay on the path as long as he can. He's had a bit of a mixed run with injury. Any time he gets a bit of momentum, something seems to knock him back a couple steps. So hopefully for his cricket, he can spend most of this winter and the following summer fit.

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