Former Sheffield Shield stalwart Michael Klinger had also been shortlisted by CA, but he has accepted a job to coach the Melbourne Renegades in this season’s BBL. Bailey had been seen as the favourite for the job.
“I am passionate about the long-term success of the Australian cricket team and advancing the cause of Australian cricket in general,” Bailey said.
“I have been fortunate enough to contribute as a player for quite a few years, and to now have the opportunity to continue in the role of selector is a tremendous honour.
“I’m confident I can add value to the selection process and that my experience will be complementary to that of Trevor and Justin. I am really excited to be joining them in the coming months.”
Finch, who had spoken to Bailey about his new role even before CA’s official announcement, joins Test skipper Tim Paine and veteran Usman Khawaja among those giving him the thumbs up for the job.
While cynics may point out it is in a player’s best interest to praise a man who picks the national team, Bailey is universally admired and respected by his peers.
Those who have worked with Bailey believe he will improve communication between selectors and players, which has been a sore point among playing ranks for years, particularly those on the outer.
“I haven’t heard anyone doubt the decision,” Finch said.
“All the players I’ve spoken to are rapt with the decision to have someone still playing – he’s a professional, he’s been around the game a long time. He might get sledged a bit less, though.”
CA was keen to hire a younger selector with better understanding and experience of Twenty20s leading into next year’s World Cup at home. It is the only major trophy to elude the national men’s team. Bailey was a long-time captain for Tasmania and also led Australia in the white-ball formats.
“George’s international and domestic playing career speaks for itself. His extensive experience across all formats, and deep knowledge of T20 cricket, will be invaluable as we head into a home T20 World Cup and beyond,” Oliver said.
“We’re also excited about the broader impact that George will have on Australian cricket as we work to connect more closely with players, coaches and high performance staff across the country.”
Andrew Wu writes on cricket and AFL for The Sydney Morning Herald