ASHES-winning former Australian captain Allan Border has applauded Cricket Australia for the inclusion of George Bailey in the Test squad for next week's first Ashes Test against England.
Border, who won three straight Ashes series from 1989 to 1993 as captain, said the Australian team named yesterday for the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba next Thursday didn't offer up any surprises.
He believed Bailey was a deserving inclusion in an Australian squad facing four straight Ashes series defeats.
Bailey has made 1539 runs at an average of 54.96 for Australia since making his one-day international debut in March 2012, with two centuries and 11 half-centuries.
"It's a very predictable side, it's almost identical to what I picked a few weeks ago," Border told The Morning Bulletin at XXXX Island yesterday.
"There were probably three of four guys that you could pick for that position, but I applaud the guys for selecting George Bailey, given his form.
"He's ready for international Test cricket. Forget about what's happened in the past few couple of years in first-class cricket, I think he's gone to another level with his own confidence about playing at international level and he's done so well in one day cricket and deserves his spot.
"Other players have forced their way into the Test side based on one-day performance, so George has done that. He deserves his chance."
Border was confident Bailey could provide an extra steady head near the bottom of the order and would offer captain Michael Clarke some support.
"I really wish him well. He's the sort of kid that you really want to see do well," said Border, who captained Australia in 93 consecutive Tests.
"He's got good leadership skills and he'll bring that to the table and help out in that area and I just reckon he'll be a good steady mind in that late middle order. Fingers crossed that all works out well."
See page 36 to find out the 12-man Australian squad for the first Ashes Test on November 21.
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