Bell 'desperate' for call to Ashes

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The Independent Online

Ian Bell had a frustrating day here yesterday. He spent it padded up, waiting for the first Warwickshire wicket to tumble. But, in fact, all that fell was rain.

Play was eventually called off late in the afternoon by which time the Warwickshire openers had splashed their way to 30 against Hampshire on the first day of play, leaving Bell to speak of his England hopes. Should Kevin Pietersen be confirmed as being out of contention for the third Ashes Test against Australia next week because of his Achilles injury, Bell looks a shoo-in as England No 6.

Although to hear him talk, he would be just as happy for Pietersen to be fit. "We are desperate for Kev to play," Bell said. He is our No 1 player. Everyone wants to see him back on the field, I am no different."

However, if Pietersen is sidelined, Bell knows what he wants. "If he is unavailable then I will be desperate to play." It is not just a desire to play in one more Test either. "I am desperate to play 100 Test matches for England," he insisted.

If Bell is called up and manages to maintain his present form it could well be Pietersen struggling to get back in the side. In his last six Championship innings, Bell has passed 50 on five occasions, turning the last one – against Lancashire – into his second hundred of the season.