Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion and should not be taken very seriously.
Remember George Bailey? Let’s rewind to the 2013 VB Aussies tour of India.
If you are a true cricket fan, you have to remember this series. The series in which Hitman Rohit Sharma rose to fame as an opener in the limited-overs format. Apart from Rohit Sharma's heroics and James Faulkner's scares to India, there was a player in the opposition tank who had the Calm Endeavorment trait of MSD and Kane Williamson's Hakuna Matata philosophy embedded in him. Yes, you don’t have a guess again, it’s George Bailey.
He had a fantastic tour of India both as a captain and as a player and did considerably well in 2012 and 2014 world t20.
Switch to 2013 Ashes, he smashed James Anderson for a 28 run over. And in 2014, he was bought and made captain by the KXIP IPL franchise and took the then-struggling team to their Maiden IPL Final.
Leading up to the 2015 cricket world cup, where Micheal Clarke was taking a break in between, Bailey was made stand-in captain for the Cricket World Cup Opener. He played a gritty knock and supported well in partnerships leading to mammoth 342/9 in 50 overs which proved way too much for England. Come to the next match, Clarke was declared fit to play and who else paved way for him, it’s again George Bailey. And of course, after that, the opening game became the last game for Bailey in that world cup.
Okay! What’s the saddest moment of the world cup 2015 for you? Is it seeing heartbroken Proteas in semi-final 1 or teary-eyed Dhoni in the post-presentation of semi-final 2? The fact which I am going to tell now isn’t mentioned in the list of the saddest moments of that world cup. The fact that Steven Smith became the leading run-scorer for Australia in that world cup won’t take you by surprise if you have watched how he performed against the Indians of their test tour in Down Under. But the pillar behind the success of Steven Smith in limited-overs is George Bailey. Yes, it’s true! It was him who proposed the idea of making Smith play at No.3 in the ODI format and the rest is as I told before. As a matter of fact, Australia eventually thrashed New Zealand to become the second team to win a world cup on home soil.
There in the moments of glory, Bailey celebrated the victory as if he truly led his teammates to the ultimate destiny; actually, it was he who laid the foundation for that memorable campaign.
After finishing the world cup on a high, Bailey hoped for a repeat of 2014 or one step more in the 2015 IPL. But the fate being fate; it has given 2014 finalists a wooden spoon that year. And as expected, he wasn’t retained after that dismal year and fittingly he played his last IPL match against his previous franchise. Slowly he drifted away from the limelight of IPL and Aussies’ colors due to dipping form and the growing age. The last of him playing in the international arena across formats was in 2017.
After he left the international arena, he quietly wanted to play in the domestic circuit but as fate has for him, he was recalled to the international circuit, this time not as a player but as a national selector of The Aussies.
Quite Fittingly, just like always despite being a late bloomer in cricket, he sacrificed his international career for the greater good and his domestic career too. But as always, he takes every role he has to play for the greater good of the Aussies.
It’s tough being George Bailey let alone cricket even in life too. So, will you now be the George Bailey of cricket in your life?
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First Published in TheAssortedHyderabadi