Australia, George Bailey, selector, Ian Healy critic, sitting with players, dug out, chairman of selectors, influence, performance, conflict

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

Bailey, a former Australian T20 captain who recently retired in 2020, was appointed as the new head of team in August 2021, replacing the long-term Trevor Hohns.

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

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

“George Bailey can shoot well, he can provide an extra coach around the traps… but he’s not an extra coach, is he? He is a selector.

“I think the in-form players wouldn’t mind (having him by their side); I think players who are out of shape would hate it and have to start acting.

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“I think injured players who have small or maybe a little bigger ailments wouldn’t be interested in having the selectors’ chairman that close.

“The reserves in that excavation, are they acting?

“If the acting isn’t good…they might get exposed.

“The current mood in that team could change… that could be creating stress with the coach so direct and so close.”

Healy said that since there were controversial calls during the T20 World Cup campaign, where Australia missed out on the final, he was not sure how the players would feel with Bailey sitting next to them.

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

“We let the out-of-form players stay in that team in that T20 World Cup and that was it while the selectors chairman was on the bench and very, very close to the personality of the team.

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

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

Fellow SEN panelist and current Brisbane Lions captain, Dayne Zorko compared Bailey’s presence on the bench to having his list manager on the trading bench.

“It’s very strange, especially if you’re a person on the fringes or don’t really understand a game,” he said on SEN.

“It would be like our roster manager sitting on the bench when I go out and haven’t had a good run. He just looks at me (and I’m like) ‘Oh, I can do better!’”

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

Captain Pat Cummins was reported to have met with Adam Gilchrist this week to “cool any potential tension” since former coach Justin Langer was ousted in February.

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