Ashes: George Bailey set for Australia Test debut in Brisbane
George Bailey will make his Test debut for Australia in the first Ashes clash against England next week.
Last Updated: 12/11/13 3:31pm
Bailey has been named in a 12-man squad for the series opener in Brisbane along with paceman Mitchell Johnson, who is recalled after a number of encouraging performances in one-day international cricket.
Bailey, 31, also impressed in the 50-over format in the last two series against England and India and he is expected to bat at No 6 at the Gabba.
Johnson returns in place of the injured Mitchell Starc after being overlooked for the summer Ashes series in England, while bowling all-rounder James Faulkner could be included in the side at the expense of an extra batsman.
Australia have retained 10 of the players that featured in the final Test of the summer at The Oval, and Cricket Australia's national selector John Inverarity insisted that Johnson deserved his recall on the basis of his one-day form.
"Mitchell Johnson has been bowling impressively in recent times," said Inverarity. "He has good rhythm and is generating good pace."
"Ten players who represented Australia in its most recent Test match ... have been retained in this squad. Mitchell Starc is unavailable due to injury and he has been replaced by Mitchell Johnson.
"We have included George Bailey in this line-up and are excited by what he can offer at Test level.
"George has shown outstanding international form over the past 20 months, including the recent limited-overs series in India. He is calm and composed and comes into the squad full of confidence."
Inverarity revealed that Bailey had been preferred to Alex Doolan, who is widely expected to be involved at some stage during the series.
"It was certainly discussed at great length," Inverarity added. "Of course the national selection panel have been in contact quite a bit over the last few weeks and that had a lot of discussion.
"Alex Doolan is a very highly regarded player in our eyes. But George Bailey has been in fantastic form with the bat."
Faulkner, impressed with bat and ball at The Oval - as well as in limited-overs assignments this year - and Inverarity said: "James has retained his place in the squad, and his all-round development over the past five months has been most noticeable and pleasing."
"He has been a cricketer we've had our eye on for a long time. He impresses us with his batting and with his bowling and with his attitude, and his uncanny ability to have an impact on almost every game he plays.
"If you give him the ball, he always seems to be able to conjure up a wicket - when he goes out to bat he has the knack of forming a partnership ... we have high hopes for him."
Inverarity also expects Shane Watson to be passed fit as he recovers from a hamstring injury, although he may not be able to bowl in Brisbane.
"Shane is progressing very well in regaining his fitness and we're confident he'll be fit to play," Inverarity added. "We're hoping that he'll be able to bowl, but it's nine days to go, so we can't give a definitive answer on that."
Australia squad for first Ashes Test in Brisbane: MJ Clarke (Captain), BJ Haddin, GJ Bailey, JP Faulkner, RJ Harris, MG Johnson, NM Lyon, CJL Rogers, PM Siddle, SPD Smith, DA Warner, SR Watson.
Stay up or catch up - watch England's defence of the Ashes in Australia this winter ONLY on Sky Sports.