Bailey worthy long-shot for top Australian Ashes runscorer

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As doubts recede over Michael Clarke’s fitness ahead of the start of the Ashes many will be piling on the Australian captain to top the scoring charts for his team at 9/4 even though he was bested by Shane Watson in the recent tour in England.

However, those fancying a riskier bet could do worse than backing George Bailey at 12/1, despite the fact he is yet to play a Test for Australia.

Bailey has been in superlative form for Australia in ODIs, putting India to the sword with scores of 85, 92*, 43 and 98 in his past four matches.

He also performed well in the Champions Trophy last June despite Australia’s early exit, and in total Bailey averages 53.03 for Australia after 33 ODIs.

As a result there has been a groundswell of support for the 31-year-old to be granted a Test berth for the upcoming Ashes, with former national coach Mickey Arthur recently adding his voice to those suggesting Bailey could start in the number six slot.

He has proved he has the temperament for international cricket by captaining the ODI side with distinction while racking up the runs.

One question remains whether his game suits the longer format, and a poor average of 18.28 in last season’s Sheffield Shield stands as a black mark against his name.

Overall Bailey averages 38.29 in first-class cricket, not an excellent record, but notably his domestic one-day average is just 37, comfortably below his output for Australia in the shorter-form.

If Bailey makes a similar transition to Test cricket as he has done in ODIs then he will certainly be amongst the higher scorers in the Ashes.

Watson should also be considered at 7/2 to top the Australian charts again as the now-retired Michael Hussey was the only Aussie to outscore the burly opener in the last Ashes series Down Under.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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