England put faith in Bell – again

 

Edgbaston

In looking to the future yesterday, England's selectors turned to the past. They resurrected Ian Bell's one-day career for the third time by asking him to fill the role of opening batsman vacated by Kevin Pietersen.

It is a risky business, not quite supported by Bell's previous record over 108 matches, but it is based on the sound reasoning that it may be as well to pick the most gifted batsman in the country. Bell's last incarnation as a limited-overs batsman turned out to be a disaster when he was expected to play the part of finisher and pinch-hitter at No 6.

That bizarre idea foundered on his inability to slog, the concert pianist trying to bash out a medley on the old joanna down at the old Bull and Bush. It was embarrassing to watch at times.

Maybe he would have been better advised to invest the occasion with his more dignified style, but it seems that he will now have the chance up the order again. Bell has been there before but in 27 ODI innings as opener he flattered to deceive, making only five fifties with a pedestrian run rate of 4.40 an over.

Were it not for Pietersen's retirement, this gap would probably not have opened up and Bell's career as a limited-overs batsman would have remained unfulfilled. But watching him at work in the third Test match, which was finally abandoned yesterday without a ball being bowled on the fifth day, was to appreciate a sublime talent.

He and Pietersen were in control for an hour on Sunday and, while their approach was contrasting, neither was especially more dominant than the other. It is just possible this could work.

Andy Flower, England's coach, said: "We don't want him to do a similar job to Pietersen, we want him to be Ian Bell and play great one-day international cricket. He's only 30, but he's a very experienced cricketer and he's in great form, which you saw on Sunday.

"With the two new white balls in one-day internationals we want great quality batsmen up front for us. He is one of those. He's really good quality and we believe he can form a successful partnership with Alastair Cook. There are alternatives and we considered those very carefully, but we believe that the man who has the best chance of making it a success against two white balls is Ian Bell.

"I'm really excited to see him take on that challenge. We had to weigh up whether to get someone younger but we think he's the best option for us."

The plan, only partly formed as yet because of the time gap, is for Bell to open the batting in the World Cup in Australia in 2015. If he can stay in the team that long, playing perhaps another 60 or 70 matches, he will indeed have made the place his own. Flower conceded that they might have to rethink in sub-continental conditions but said that it was a long time away (actually it's next January in India).

Bell was denied the chance to go on and make his 17th Test hundred yesterday, from 76 overnight, when persistent rain, bad light and a waterlogged outfield saw a third day of the final Test called off. England won the rubber 2-0 and, although they were never in any serious danger of losing it, some of their cricket in the abbreviated contest in Birmingham was perilously sub-par.

It was not directly connected to the decision to omit their opening bowlers, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Board, as part of a policy of rotation but there were repercussions elsewhere. Andrew Strauss, the captain, said: "We played enough good cricket in the first two matches to win them comfortably but it wasn't a perfect performance here."

Limited overs squads

One-day internationals

A Cook (capt), R Bopara (both Essex), J Anderson (Lancs), J Bairstow, T Bresnan (both Yorks), I Bell, J Trott (both Warwicks), S Broad, G Swann, S Patel (all Notts), J Dernbach (Surrey), S Finn, E Morgan (both M'sex), C Kieswetter (Somerset)

Twenty20

S Broad (capt), A Hales, S Patel, G Swann (all Notts). J Bairstow, T Bresnan (both Yorks) R Bopara (Essex), D Briggs (Hamps), J Buttler, C Kieswetter (both Som'set), J Dernbach (Surrey), S Finn, E Morgan (both M'sex)

Life and Style
Social media users in Mexico who commented on cartel violence have been killed in the past
techTweets not showing up or loading this morning, users say
Sport
premier leagueLive: All the latest news and scores from today's matches
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
politics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker