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David Warner is a natural leader - George Bailey

George Bailey scored a match-winning fifty in the second ODI against Sri Lanka
George Bailey scored a match-winning fifty in the second ODI against Sri Lanka
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australian batsman and former captain George Bailey has praised stand-in skipper David Warner, who he believes is a natural leader.

Warner was appointed as the stand-in skipper after the Australian selectors decided to give Steven Smith a rest prior to the gruelling summer season ahead.

Dwelling on the experience he has had under Warner’s leadership in the third One-Day International in Dambulla, Bailey feels that captaincy suits the 29-year-old.

“I think he’s a natural leader.

“He’s always been a leader in terms of the way he plays the game and a lot of the things we talk about as a team.

“And Boof (coach Darren Lehmann) has always talked about, driving the game and playing the game aggressively and taking the game on.

“You’re talking about Davey Warner when you do that.

“The conversations that I was privy to when he was talking to the bowlers (on Sunday), he was really clear and direct.

“He keeps things simple and they’re all pretty good things to have as a skipper.

“As I said, he is really a natural leader, I think it (captaincy) suits him.

“It obviously brought out the best in his cricket in the IPL.”

Bailey, who himself led Australia in 29 ODIs between 2013 and 2015, has had a good year with the bat in 2016, scoring 520 runs from 16 games at an average of 37.14.

The breakthrough year for Bailey was in 2013 where he scored 1098 runs but in the two years after that, he struggled to live up to those expectations.

Following his man of the match performance in the third ODI against Sri Lanka, Bailey took the inspiration of Tillakaratne Dilshan and is hoping that he can carry on playing for a few more years.

“I don’t know what to put it down to - I’m just hitting my peak at the right age.

“Maybe I’ve got a few years left watching Dilshan run around today.

“He still moves phenomenally well, doesn’t he. He’s 39, so six years left for me, that’s okay.

“I just try to relax a bit more and enjoy it, probably a bit of better balance off the field.

“I know what it feels like to be out of the team, or on the outer of the team.

“I know the worst-case scenario if I don’t score runs is I’m back to that feeling, so I’m just trying to make sure I enjoy every second with this team that can.”

After having taken a 2-1 lead in the five-match series against Sri Lanka, Australia need just one more win from the remaining two games to clinch the ODI series.

© Cricket World 2016