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)

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
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

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments