Cricket - Bailey unfazed by Test debut

Australia batsman George Bailey is relaxed ahead of his Test debut and insists he will treat the Ashes opener like any other game.

PA Sport
Cricket - Bailey unfazed by Test debut
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Australia's George Bailey during the nets session at The Gabba, Brisbane, Australia.

The lower-order batsman believes his vast experience and fine limited-overs form will help him cope with the unique pressures of a Test against England in front of a big Gabba crowd starting on Thursday.

Bailey's calm head and leadership qualities were cited by chairman of selectors John Inverarity as key reasons for his inclusion in the squad when it was named last week, along with his impressive run of one-day international scores on the recent tour of India.

The 31-year-old told reporters on Tuesday that he would be nervous going into the game, but no more so than if he was playing for his club side in Hobart.

"I will be (nervous) come Thursday morning, no doubt, but no more nervous than I get walking out to bat for Sandy Bay," Bailey said.

"It's just a good thing. I'm always a little more concerned when I'm not nervous.

"But part of dealing with that is dealing with all the peripheral stuff and realising it's just another game.

"I think we've spoken about as a group the fantastic support that the fans have, the public have for this series, and the media obviously have a huge interest, and it's about us dealing with that and going out and playing it like any other game."

Having been made to wait so long to play his first Test, Bailey has no qualms about stepping straight into the Ashes pressure-cooker environment.

"I don't think you'd knock it back, would you?" he said.

"I think you'd grab any opportunity you can, if it happened to be this Test, if it happened to be against anyone, the cricket's the same.

"For me it's still my first Test for the country so I honestly don't care who we're playing and I just can't wait for it."

Bailey, who averages 54.96 with the bat in ODIs but just 38.13 in first-class cricket, was confident he could transfer his limited-overs form into the Test arena.

"The big differences will be a reasonably big crowd, the intensity of the game and all that sort of stuff," he said.

"And hopefully having played in some of those other games that will hold me in good stead, but I imagine that this might take it to another level altogether.

"A lot's been written about how old I am, but one of the advantages of that is that I'll play my way, I know I'll get one crack at it and to make sure that if it doesn't work out, then I've done it the way that I know I can do and as well as I can, and I can certainly sleep well at night knowing that I've done that.

"So I'm very comfortable with that.

"As far as my batting goes, I feel as confident as ever and I feel like I'm batting as well as I ever have and that's a nice place to be."

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