Ian Bell: Unlike KP, I am desperate to get into the ODI team

 

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The Independent Online

We all respect Kevin Pietersen's decision to retire from one-day internationals and I understand that a player might want to prioritise. But it's not a call I feel I'm close to making.

I want to get back into the one-day team. I want to play as much as I can for England. I want to play more than 100 Tests and to be involved in all forms for the next five or six years.

Kev, below, sees Tests as the No 1 form, and that's a credit to the five-day game. We've seen certain players, like Brett Lee, retire from Tests to prolong their careers in the limited-overs game.

I'm at Edgbaston, my home ground, for today's third Test against West Indies. I remember scoring my first hundred, as a 10-year-old against Gloucestershire, on the Colts ground. I recall my Warwickshire debut aged 17, even if I made a duck. I was on the field when Geraint Jones took the catch to dismiss Mike Kasprowicz to win the 2005 Ashes Test here, probably one of the greatest of all time. And last year, I had a beer after helping England beat India and top the ICC Test rankings.

I wonder about the ambitions of young kids today. When I was a youngster, I wanted to play Tests. Now, it's possible kids are looking at the Indian Premier League. Instead of working on batting for a whole day, they might be trying to learn to hit the ball out of the ground or flick it over their heads.

The IPL is a great tournament and I would like to play more Twenty20, so this is not a criticism, just an idea about how life will go. There is no reason why Twenty20 and Tests can't carry on. The important thing, though, is to look after the longest form of the game. I'm sure the majority of cricketers would say Tests give them more satisfaction, so we have to make sure Test cricket is seen as the most important.

We've seen Viv Richards here as a commentator for this series: the sort of player you measure yourself against. Twenty20 just doesn't have the same kudos. Someone will hit the ball out of the ground but there will always be someone to hit it further.

In Tests, there is nowhere to hide. If you've a problem against the short ball, your opponents will challenge you. If you have a weakness outside off stump, it will be exposed. Twenty20 just isn't the same.

I've heard this week that no Warwickshire batsman has scored a Test hundred for England at Edgbaston. But a century at my home ground is not on my list of goals. I played last year when we reached No 1, and I'll look back on that just as fondly as I would a Test hundred.

It's important not to get too keyed up here. Last year I played too aggressively. Hopefully this time I can contribute to a 3-0 series win for England.

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