Melbourne:Australia skipper George Bailey says he doesn’t regard playing in a World Cup at home as being under pressure but rather a wonderful opportunity ahead of Saturday’s opener with England in Melbourne.
Bailey will lead the Australians into battle against the old enemy before a 90,000 MCG full house in place of Michael Clarke, who was not considered fit enough to play after recent hamstring surgery.
The personable Bailey is lining up for his 57th ODI and said playing in a home World Cup tournament is something a player should cherish.
“I’m certainly not (feeling the pressure), but I have nothing to compare it against,” Bailey told reporters on Friday.
“I’m just certainly looking forward to the fact that we get to enjoy some home comforts, enjoy some home support and embrace the opportunity that comes around having a World Cup at home.
“It’s an opportunity you’re born into. It’s pot luck. There have been some amazing Australian sides that have won World Cups all over the world, and some amazing Australian players that never had the opportunity to play at home.
“You can view that as pressure if you like, or you can view that as a wonderful opportunity and an honour. And that’s certainly the way I think we’re trying to approach it.”
Bailey, who has won 15 of the 28 ODIs in which he has captained Australia, believes England are a dangerous first-up opponent despite having won 13 of the last 15 ODIs against them at home.
“I’d love to say it would count for something, but I honestly don’t think it does,” Bailey said.
“I think England have made some really positive changes to the way they play and the structure, and I personally think they look really dangerous.
“I don’t think they rely too heavily on any one or two players, which is a pretty good model, so unfortunately we all start on zero tomorrow.
“I would imagine both sides would be well aware of how important it is to start well and get that momentum and get that confidence.
“I guess the disclaimer to that is both sides will know that whichever side does go down, it’s not the end of their tournament.
“We are taking it as a danger game. I imagine they would have expectations. There’s a lot of very good and a lot of proud cricketers within that side.
“Our expectations are always to win. If the general public or the media feel we’re favourites, then that’s fine, (but) it doesn’t affect the game at all and the way it will be played.
“The Australian one-day team expects to win one-day tournaments and this tournament’s no different.”