Bell's foot injury throws England plans for Ashes into disarray

Nothing is ever simple when preparing for Ashes campaigns and England's carefully laid plans were disrupted earlier than usual yesterday. Ian Bell, who has emerged as a key member of the middle order, will miss the rest of this summer's Tests against Pakistan with a foot injury.

Although he is expected to make a full recovery well before the tour of Australia begins in late October, he is likely to be short of batting practice against top-class bowling by the time England begin their defence of the urn in late November. Bell broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot – the one nearest the little toe – while fielding against Bangladesh last Saturday and had routine surgery on Monday night.

It is a longer-term injury than was first feared and there is no certainty that Bell will be fit in time to play in the one-day series against Pakistan on Friday10 September. With England desperate to have a settled batting unit before the opening match of the Ashes in Brisbane on 25 November, it is at least a distraction.

Andy Flower, the team's coach, said yesterday: "This is very unfortunate for Ian because he looks in very good form and he looks confident about what he is doing, so that is really bad luck, but so be it. He had a really good winter, scoring important runs for us at important times, and I've got great hopes for him in the future. It would be much too early to speculate about who would be batting in the first Test in Brisbane."

But Flower will already have pencilled in Bell for the Gabba, possibly as high as three. Since being recalled in the 2009 Ashes campaign, Bell has grown in stature and maturity, demonstrated by the innings he played under pressure in South Africa last winter. But the last time he came across high-calibre bowling was against South Africa in January.

His absence means that England will be spared a selection debate if they continue against Pakistan with the contentious strategy of playing six batsmen. Eoin Morgan, a gifted player but one who failed to cash in during his two Tests against Bangladesh, looks set to be retained.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore