In the absence of Michael Clarke due to injuries, George Bailey took over the reins as captain of the Australian cricket team for several seasons.
One cannot forget his contributions with the bat, wherein in the high-scoring 2013 ODI series in India, Bailey notched up milestones for fun.
The Tasmanian’s role in the 2015 World Cup in Australia was limited as he featured only in the opening game of the tournament. Bailey scored 55 against England at MCG.
However, one impactful suggestion he made during the tournament changed the fortunes of Steve Smith and the Australian team.
Bailey suggested that Smith should be moved up the order, replacing the slot with Mitchell Marsh lower down the order. Bailey justified his advice citing out Smith’s ability to bat 50 overs and Marsh’s lustrous hitting abilities.
“My claim to fame, and no doubt he would have ended up there anyway. We’d been using Steve Smith at six or seven in the one-day team and Zimbabwe (the previous August-September). We threw Mitch Marsh up to three in a game,” stated Bailey during The Unplayable Podcast.
“I suggested that it should be Steve Smith (at three) because at that time Mitch could, and still can, bludgeon the ball, but I couldn’t see him batting for the full innings, where I could see ‘Smudger’ (Smith) batting for 50 overs, making those key hundreds that you could bat around,” continued Bailey.
Australia’s top scorer in the World Cup of 2015, Smith amassed 402 runs at an average of 67, with one century and four half-centuries to his name.
“That recommendation was taken up and that played a huge part – Smudger was three right throughout the World Cup and hasn’t moved since,” concluded the 37-year old.
Smudge holds an average of almost 63 in Test cricket, only second to Don Bradman’s average of 99.94. Despite his one-year layoff from the game, Smith dethroned Virat Kohli in the Test rankings for the top-spot.
Smith has scored 26 Test tons and 9 ODI tons since his move at number three, starting as a leg-spinner.