George Bailey is happy despite the door being shut on international career

CAPTAIN FANTASTIC: Tasmanian and Hurricanes skipper George Bailey is content championing the Tasmanian cause following his national exile. Picture: Scott Gelston
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC: Tasmanian and Hurricanes skipper George Bailey is content championing the Tasmanian cause following his national exile. Picture: Scott Gelston

Having an international door shut on him has opened up a range of opportunities for George Bailey.

While not officially retired from national duties, the reliable middle-order accumulator believes his cricket future lies purely in his home state where he captains Tasmanian teams in all three formats.

During a speaking engagement in Launceston in November, national selector Mark Waugh said age was against the 35-year-old and Bailey is accepting of the fact despite compiling impressive domestic figures this season.

“I think it is well and truly closed so for me now it’s about enjoying playing for Tasmania,” Bailey told The Examiner.

“It is what it is. If you had offered me at the start of my career that I would play however many games of international cricket as I have, I’d have thought you were mad.”

Bailey might not know his full stats but they make impressive reading.

The former South Launceston batsman has represented Australia in all formats, winning his five Test appearances during the 2013-14 Ashes clean sweep (183 runs at 26.14), playing 90 One-Day Internationals (3044 at 40.58) and 30 T20 internationals (473 at a 136.70 strike-rate) while also captaining his country in both shorter forms.

His five-year ODI career included being a part of the 2015 World Cup win on home soil, three centuries, 22 half-centuries and a top score of 156, but Bailey’s last appearance was more than a year ago.

Now married with a two-year-old daughter, the former Longford Primary and Launceston Church Grammar pupil said he is able to focus purely on state representation and isn’t planning on calling time on his career for a while yet.

“It’s probably easier to plan life a little bit which is good for where we are at the moment with a young family.

“It’s hard to talk about because it does not feel like my cricket career is finishing. I’m sure my body will let me know when it’s time but I have not put a date or time on that. If I’m winning and enjoying cricket I won’t want to stop.”

Five years after being named captain on his T20i debut for Australia, Bailey has been in fine domestic form this season.

He averages 65 over his last five Sheffield Shield innings which included a century against Victoria at the MCG.

He has also resumed the captaincy of the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League and led the team in his home town against Sydney Thunder on Saturday.