Perth: If body language is a good indicator of emotions, then there are some under-currents in the Australian cricket team. George Bailey, who captained the team in their World Cup opener against England in absence of the injured Michael Clarke, seemed quite aloof as the team arrived at the Perth International Airport here yesterday.
Australia's Mitchell Starc celebrates taking the wicket of Grant Elliott of New Zealand. Pics/Getty Images
Bailey scored an impressive 69-ball 55 as he led his team to a thumping 111-run win over the Englishmen. Australia's second fixture (against Bangladesh) was washed out and the third against New Zealand on Saturday saw Clarke (33) make his comeback from a back injury, nudging out Bailey (32) in the bargain. Australia subsequently lost to the Kiwis with Clarke managing to score just 12, as his team folded up for 151 at Auckland's Eden Park.
Yesterday, even as the Australian team members trickled out of the airport in ones and twos, and seemed happy to oblige autograph-hunters, Bailey tried to walk straight up to the team bus. He almost succeeded too before a couple of fans with outstretched arms got the better of him and he reluctantly signed. Clarke meanwhile, was calm as he went about signing for anyone and everyone who approached him, and posed for selfies too.
Michael Clarke and George Bailey
Australia's top paceman Mitchell Starc, however, said that all was well within Team Australia and that there was no ambiguity over the captaincy issue. "I've played under both George and Michael for quite a few games and I don't think this (change of captaincy) has disrupted us as a group. Michael is a great leader and the boys back him 100%. And if he's not there, then the boys back George. Michael is fit and ready to go and he's our captain now," Starc said yesterday.
Bouncing back at WACA
A day earlier, the 25-year-old lanky left-arm pacer took his career-best ODI figures of 6-28 (off his nine overs) but could not help his team beat NZ, who won by one wicket. Starc said the personal success notwithstanding, it was a disappointing team result. However, the prospect of playing at the WACA (against Afghanistan on Wednesday) is mouthwatering nevertheless. "The fast and bouncy WACA wicket will be nice. We have a couple of training days to get used to the fast track. We are just looking forward to winning the next game on Wednesday now."