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Bailey hits out at Channel Nine negotiating ploy

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Australia's acting captain George Bailey has rejected claims he will lead a second-string one-day international side against Sri Lanka and accused the Nine Network of talking them down as a TV rights ploy.

Australia's acting captain George Bailey has rejected claims he will lead a second-string one-day international side against Sri Lanka and accused the Nine Network of talking them down as a TV rights ploy. Photo: AP

Australia's acting captain George Bailey has rejected claims he will lead a second-string one-day international (ODI) side against Sri Lanka and accused the Nine Network of talking them down as a TV rights ploy.

The team Bailey announced on Thursday to play in Friday's series-opener at the MCG does little to support his case.

With star batsmen Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, David Warner and dumped veteran Mike Hussey all missing, the Australian top three will all be ODI debutants - Aaron Finch, Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja.

Aaron Finch has been unstoppable for the Renegades and Victoria in limited overs domestic cricket this season.

Aaron Finch has been unstoppable for the Renegades and Victoria in limited overs domestic cricket this season. Photo: Getty Images

It will be the most ODI first-gamers Australia have fielded since 1986, when Simon Davis, Bruce Reid, Steve Waugh and Dave Gilert all made their debuts against New Zelaand at the MCG.

But not since Graeme Wood, Rick Darling, Graham Yallop and Peter Toohey made their debuts in the top four against the West Indies in Antigua in 1978 has Australia fielded such an inexperienced top order.

With Bailey, batting at No.4, boasting just 13 previous ODIs himself and four-game allrounder Glenn Maxwell at No.6, the only batsmen of notable experience are David Hussey and recalled wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene (386) has played more ODIs than Australia's entire eleven (366).

But Bailey said while it was a team picked with an eye to this year's India and Ashes tours and the 2015 World Cup, they all warranted selection now.

"It's still called the Australian cricket team," Bailey told reporters after training at the MCG.

"... For these two games this is the best side that Australia can put out.

"I've got no doubt that if guys perform well, for sure there'll be a few debutants in this game, but going forward I think you'll see these guys a lot more in one-day cricket, I think you'll see some of them play Test cricket."

The Nine Network has made clear its disappointment that fan favourites such as Warner and Mike Hussey will be missing, but Bailey suggested the broadcaster had ulterior motives.

"They're about to go into negotiations for the TV rights," he said.

"I think that was a pretty tactical move to try to talk down one-day cricket."

Bailey expressed strong belief in his side.

"We want them to go out and bat and bowl exactly as they are and not feel as though they have to replace a Ricky Ponting or a Mike Hussey," Bailey said.

"The skills the guys have got are good enough."

The crowd is expected to be considerably smaller than the 46,681 for Sunday night's T20 Big Bash League derby match at the MCG.

But Bailey said the one-day format remained relevant, even if most preferred to watch it on TV rather than in person.

"Big Bash is popular because it goes for three hours and fits in nicely," he said.

"There's no doubt one-day cricket takes a bit longer.

"And I think Test matches are becoming a real event in themselves, as much about the spectacle and the event itself as the cricket.

"One-day cricket, as far as crowds go, will be challenged at different times but I still think the actual cricket itself is very very good."

Teams: Australia: George Bailey (capt), Aaron Finch, Phil Hughes, Usman Khawaja, David Hussey, Glenn Maxwell, Brad Haddin, Clint McKay, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Xavier Doherty, Steve Smith (12th man).

Sri Lanka (from): Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Akila Dananjaya, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekera, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Jeevan Mendis, Kushal Perera, Thisara Perera, Upul Tharanga, Lahiru Thirimanne.

AAP

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