The seventh edition of the IPL has reached the business end and the tournament has been known for some spectacular hitting and immaculate spells of bowling. There have been eye grabbing catches taken and some scintillating fielding by the blend of youth and senior professionals. The teams of Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Superkings and Kings XI Punjab have been dominating forces this season. But it has been Kings XI Punjab who have made giant strides and surprised one and all by topping the points table. So what has been the key to their success? The batting, the bowling…but foremost the able leadership of George Bailey makes KXIP a different team altogether.
George Bailey, who played for Chennai Superkings in the previous editions, was bought by the Kings XI Punjab for Rs 3.25 crores at this year’s auction. The KXIP think tank, especially the coach Sanjay Bangar, wanted a solid head to lead the team. They found the most suitable person in the form of George Bailey. Both the owners and the Coach of the team have accredited the team’s grand success this season to the epigrammatic leadership of Bailey. Bailey is no rookie when it comes to captaincy. He has led his Australian domestic side to win on quite a few occasions. The most striking feather in Bailey’s hat is the fact that he captained his national side on his t20 debut for Australia! It was only on the second occasion that a debutant captained the national team after Dave Gregory (Australia) in 1877!
Bailey didn’t get much of success in the previous editions of IPL; rather he didn’t get many chances for that matter. But coming into IPL 2014 and leading the KXIP squad, he had a steady mind and has been very successful with his decisions. KXIP have won 10 of their 13 games so far kudos to brilliant batting by Maxwell and Miller and economical bowling by Sandeep Sharma, Mitchell Johnson and Akshar Patel. But most importantly, it has been captain cool Bailey’s crucial cameos and bold decisions which have put the side over the line on most occasions. On the personal front, Bailey has done reasonably well with his batting. The KXIP top order has been a dominant force and as a result, Bailey hasn’t really got much of the chance to bat; but he has cashed in whenever his team needed him. In their second game against CSK, they wanted to finish on a high. Bailey stepped in the 17th over and finished with a 13 ball 40 taking his tam past 200. A few low scores came at the fag end of the matches that followed for this Tasmanian right handed batsman. But when the team needed him again, he was right there. George Bailey and David Miller put together a 52 run stand ensuring a successful run chase for their team. Bailey being the major contributor with an unbeaten 35. KXIP chased down a target of over 200 for the second time this season! Playing against the Rajasthan Royals at Mohali, Bailey and Miller put on an unbeaten 60 run partnership for the 5th wicket to take the team to a winning total of 179. Bailey has been one such contributor to the team who has made his presence felt.
George Bailey is certainly not the most fancied player nor is he known for his six hitting capabilities. But he is a man who is prominent because of his escapades as a team leader. He has trusted his bowlers and crafted new talents like Shivam Sharma, Akshar Patel and Sandeep Sharma. He backed his batsmen when needed. In a game against SRH, when Dhawan and co were clobbering young paceman Sandeep Sharma, it was Bailey who ensured that the young man felt no pressure and supported the lad. A team succeeds when the players have a belief in their leader and they trust him. This is what has been the success mantra for KXIP this year.
An ever smiling face of George Bailey exudes positive energy in his team members and this smiling face is the symbol of danger for the opposition. George Bailey, the unsung hero of KXIP, continues to be the smiling assassin for all the teams.
He is an engineering student at Christ University, Bangalore and aspires to become a sagacious writer. Apart from writing, he is obsessed withcricket and computer programming. He writes blogs and other stuff to gain cognizance and expertise at writing.
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