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Sehwag is a leader in Kings XI: Bailey

Sehwag is a leader in Kings XI: BaileyNEW DELHI: In the ultra-competitive Australian side it's not easy to break in as a specialist in the shorter format. One man who's done that with aplomb is George Bailey.

The Tasmanian has become indispensable in both T20 and ODIs, emerging as the most successful batsman for Australia. Bailey averages a phenomenal 53 in ODIs with a strike-rate of over 91 but it is his calm ability to lead the side in the T20 format which the Aussies cherish most. 

The Australian T20 skipper has been around the Indian Premier League (IPL) scene with the Chennai Super Kings but could not cement his place in their star-studded outfit. Kings XI Punjab decided to splurge Rs 3.25 crore on him at the IPL 7 auction last month and decided to hand over the reins of the team to him. 

The choice of the skipper for the new-look Kings XI team was between Virender Sehwag and Bailey but the management opted for the latter. "Given the amount of experience Sehwag has, he'll be a leader of the side regardless of whether he is captain or not. The young players will definitely go to him and seek his guidance," Bailey told TOI from Dhaka on Saturday. 

Sehwag, the former Delhi Daredevils skipper, has had a very modest season in domestic cricket after being left out of the Indian team last year. Bailey, though, is not concerned by the poor form of his premier batsman. "His (Sehwag's) record speaks for itself. Bowlers are still afraid of his ability and I expect a big performance in the tournament from him," he said. 

Bailey has the experience of leading in international cricket but IPL 7 will be a whole new challenge for him. 

"The challenge for me will be leading a bunch of new players - some of the guys who I'll meet for the first time when the team gets together. I need to learn about the ability of the new guys fast and figure out how they can be best utilized," the 31-year-old said. 

The Australian has plenty of match-winners at his disposal - like David Miller, Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Johnson. The last of those three is struggling with a toe infection which has now spread to his leg. 

Asked about an update on Johnson's fitness, Bailey said, "I haven't spoke to Mitch for a while but the last I heard was that he was improving and should be fully fit by the time IPL comes around. As everyone has seen, Mitch has been bowling really fast recently and he is one of biggest game-changers. He has the ability to wreck a side by picking a lot of wickets in a short span of time." 

Although he didn't get a lot of time in the middle with CSK, Bailey believes he has grown as a player thanks to the time spent with the team.

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