Bell to miss out as England seek rare triumph in India

 

Hyderabad

About five minutes ago, those who were paying attention will recall, England defeated India in a one-day series. They prevailed in lots of other stuff as well but the one-day triumph at home last month was especially unexpected, not to say gratifying, because India were the newly crowned world champions.

The teams do it all again starting here today at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in the first of another series of five one-dayers, all of them day-night matches. If it is unfortunate that this sequel has come so soon – not even Bollywood and Hollywood do things this quickly when they are on to a good thing – it may be a truer examination of England's progress.

It will not be easy since little is in this part of the world unless you happen to be a dotcom millionaire, but these tourists have a genuine opportunity to win their first limited-overs series in India for 26 years. The team led by David Gower won 4-1 in late 1985. India were world champions then as well.

This is India's homecoming after their great deeds during the World Cup, when 18 months of diligent planning saw them claim the trophy on a thrilling and emotional night in Mumbai. This series should be a kind of victory tour around the country's major cities where it is – for once where England are concerned – being played.

But India have been denied. Only four of the heroes who paraded round the Wankhede Stadium that balmy April evening are in the squad for the first two matches of this series. Others are either injured or out of form.

England, too, are much changed from the bunch who tried and failed to stop India on their march to glory. The outstanding match of the tournament was the high-scoring tie in Bangalore when England and Andrew Strauss matched the 338 of India and Sachin Tendulkar. A maximum of four of the England side from that night will play today.

It is probable that the number will be as few as three because all the intelligence from the camp yesterday suggested that England will omit Ian Bell from their side. Perhaps it shows that England are going places when they can contemplate overlooking their most accomplished player.

But Bell, for all his gifts, attitude and application, has never quite cracked the one-day code. He has not been helped by England's lack of regard to his place in the batting order. In one-day matches this year alone, Bell has batted at two, three, four, five and six, a degree of flexibility being expected which his unquestionable talents do not embrace.

For Bell the problem is that other, younger men hit bigger, longer shots. If Jonny Bairstow is the obvious example of the moment, there are others such as Jos Buttler, who is staying with the party until the solitary Twenty20 match, and Ben Stokes, who is recovering at home. Bell may be able to adapt but serious consideration should be given to using him as an opening batsman.

This series is pivotal in Kevin Pietersen's one-day career. Whatever he says, he has been off the pace for most of the last three years in this form of the game. If he does not put it right now he may not have the opportunity again (the possible end is that close for him), and with Bairstow making such a rapid climb there is a case for leaving him out now.

Alastair Cook, England's captain, said yesterday: "This series has no relevance at all to England in the summer. They are totally different conditions and what's gone is gone. We had a really good summer and it was great to be part of it but it's totally different now. It's a new series, we start at 0-0, but we feel that we can challenge any side. Practice has gone great, the welcome has been fantastic, this squad is ready to play."

The usual rallying words then at the start of a series and Cook, despite the observations of his friend and colleague, Graeme Swann in his new autobiography, did not stumble and stammer once in enunciating them. He might have found it more difficult in telling the squad who was playing last night.

The batting apart, it is unthinkable that England will go in without two spinners. One of them is unlikely to be the 21-year-old leg spinner Scott Borthwick this early in proceedings.

India's batting is lacking Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh but they will accrue runs all right. It is their bowling that should offer England a shot. India have yet to win at this ground, having lost all three matches so far.

The series will be the first to be played under the new regulations. The options for the batting and bowling powerplays have become less optional and must be taken between the 16th and 40th overs. The feeling is that more often than not the bowling powerplay will be taken from the 16th over and the batting powerplay from the 35th.

A more drastic alteration may be the use of two balls, to be used at alternate ends. Cook averred that it could bring spinners into play more often, both near the start and the end of the innings. If so, it may raise a low-key series to a greater level of fascination. England can win, starting today.

Hyderabad details

India (probable): M S Dhoni (capt & wkt), P A Patel, A M Rahane, G Gambhir, V Kohli, S K Raina, R A Jadeja, P Kumar, R Ashwin, U Yadav, V Kumar.

England (probable): A N Cook (capt), C Kieswetter (wkt), I J L Trott, K P Pietersen, R S Bopara, J M Bairstow, S R Patel, T T Bresnan, G P Swann, S T Finn, J W Dernbach.

Umpires B Bowden (NZ) & S Tarapore (India).

Pitch report England scored 367 here so expect plenty of runs.

Weather Hot and humid.

TV Sky Sports 1, 9.30am-6.30pm.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
news
Life and Style
love + sex
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United 1 player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot