HAMPSHIRE’S plans for the forthcoming county cricket season could be thrown into chaos.
One of Australia’s selectors has told the Daily Echo that there is “a massive chance” that George Bailey could be included in the Ashes tour party.
Bailey has been signed by the Royals to start the 2013 season as the county’s overseas player, and is expected to stay at The Ageas Bowl until early August.
But those plans could be scuppered if the uncapped 30-year-old batsman, right, wins an Ashes call-up.
Bailey was recently overlooked when Australia announced their tour party for the tour of India, which is currently taking place.
But Australia’s t20 captain remains firmly in the selectors’ minds.
One of them, ex-Hampshire bowler Andy Bichel, said: “George Bailey is definitely a massive chance to be picked for The Ashes.
“He’s come of age as an international batsman this summer and is starting to play the way we know he can play.
“He’s learned how to get the best out of himself as a batsman, he’s a good leader, and he now knows that he belongs at the top level.
“He's starting to get the best out of his ability and he’s well suited to playing Test cricket as well.
“There are no guarantees for anyone but George is very close [to the Test side].
“He’s played beautifully in recent weeks and impressed everyone.”
Bailey particularly impressed the selectors in the recent three-match 50-over series against the West Indies.
He struck a career best 125 not out at Perth off 110 balls, and the next game hit 44 off just 22 deliveries in Canberra.
A few weeks earlier Bailey had struck 89 in another 50-over international against Sri Lanka.
The Tasmanian captain boasts a good first class average of 39.90, with 14 hundreds.