England news March 1, 2014

Bell answers England SOS

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England have summoned Ian Bell as batting cover for the Twenty20 series against West Indies in Barbados, inviting speculation that he could even make an entirely unexpected late bid for inclusion in World Twenty20 later this month.

Bell, who was not even named in England's long list of 30 for World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, will join England's squad because of injury concerns to Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan, both of whom missed the first ODI against West Indies in Antigua.

The manner of England's batting collapse in Antigua, allied to Bell's greater pedigree in the 50-over game, will perhaps invite the feeling that he would be more than useful in the current 50-over series, but with the second of three games scheduled for Sunday, there is logically no time to settle him into the squad.

Ashley Giles, England's coach, said: "We've two worries - Morgan and Hales, two very different sorts of players. We are going to call up a replacement to come to Barbados and that is Ian Bell.

"Belly covers both those sort of areas pretty well. Of course he is a world class player, a world class fielder and a world class bloke, so we look forward to meeting up with him in Barbados.

He wasn't in the original 30 for World Twenty20, but with those two different sorts of players and the cover we need and the conditions we are going to face in Bangladesh, Belly has the ability to play all those different roles."

The Yorkshire pair of Gary Ballance and Jonny Bairstow, Hampshire's Michael Carberry and James Vince and a gentleman by the name of Kevin Pietersen, now no longer considered, were all part of England's provisional 30 and now seemingly less favoured.

Since his omission, Bell entered the IPL auction but, in common with many other England players, failed to attract a bid.

He does, though, have the reputation of playing spin as well as anyone in the England side. Whether that could be allied to enough power of stroke to be a force in Twenty20 is more debatable.

Bell's omission from the provisional squad of 30 does not automatically exclude him from World Twenty20. The ICC has shown a willingness in the past to allow additions from outside the 30 because of injury.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mondotv on March 4, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    You can afford to have a Wright and you can afford to have a Lumb but can you afford two inconsistent but brilliant players at the top of the order? Hales I'd put in the same basket. Worse for Hales as class bowlers work him out he's going to be found out. Lumb is the key - he looks a dead ringer style wise for Matt Hayden but lacks his legendary concentration. With the natural power and strokes he has if he could just concentrate for 10 runs at a time then having Wright up the other end wouldn't be a problem. Hayden would walk out and dominate bowlers from ball one but if the wicket had something in it he'd drop back into run accumulation mode. Lumb needs to make these same assessments and adjustments to be truly world class. And he can be and not just in one dayers but in the test team as well. Oh and Ian Bell - technically sound - you could do worse.

  • JG2704 on March 3, 2014, 23:21 GMT

    I see there are plenty of comms against Wright being in the side.

    I really like the guy but maybe I have to accept he wont reproduce his county form often enough for Eng to justify his place in the side. There are reasons for and against selecting Bell.

  • CodandChips on March 2, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    @Aj_Tiger86 thanks for the stats. Perhaps I am too harsh on Bell. But in those games, scoring 50s hardly constitutes batting through which is/was his job. England only scored well because Bell got out relatively early, giving Morgan & Buttler more time. In the CT13 match considering the dire state Aussie cricket was in at the time, 250 would have been enough. Aussie bowlers did certainly not bowl well enough to restrict us to that score. Is was more due to the top 3 batting too slowly, and Bell in particular being unwilling to take risks at the end. This gave the finishers barely any time but a lot off pressure, hence the low scores by them. We had to rely on Bopara to get us up to 269.

  • Roshan_P on March 2, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    Wright once again is going to play at 3. He is a finisher more than anything else and he belongs down the order, where he could play an all-rounder's role if needed. The same thing is happening with Shane Watson - he should only be in the top-order in ODIs or T20s. Bopara, a quality batsman, is currently languishing in the lower-order. As for Bell, he's a great player but this series could have been the chance to try out someone new instead of sticking to the old guard.

  • on March 2, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    Ashes have nothing to do with a players ability to play the shorter format of the game Bell is awesome in ODI's but having Captain Clueless and not asking the likes of Carberry to be selected for the ODI's is retarted bell can play T20 seen him do it plenty for the Bears but english t20 is like taking candy from a baby when compared to BigBash and IPL. If Bell is in Root as to go and Butler makes street cricketers look like technical masters, the best players for England are in the Lions and may they stay there till a clear out of the England team properly begins, Morgan and Stokes I'd keep around

  • AJ_Tiger86 on March 2, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    @CodandChips: "England scored 300 vs Aus in the ODI only when Cook and Bell failed" -- well I don't know what you define as failure, but England scored 300 vs Aus in 2 ODIs in 2014 -- at Brisbane and at Perth. At Brisbane, Bell scored 68 off 84 and England posted 300. At Perth, Bell scored 55 off 52 and England posted 316. In the other 3 ODIs, Bell didn't score a 50, and England failed to score anything close to 300 in all those games.

    So it's pretty clear, England score more when Bell succeeds at the top of the order. And that's no conincidence because he is England's best batsman.

  • AJ_Tiger86 on March 2, 2014, 13:07 GMT

    @Neil Dyers: Bell didn't have a lower strike rate than Cook in 2013. Bell avg 43 SR 76.87, Cook avg 35 SR 75.16. Bell is without doubt better than Cook. So if England have a problem, then it's Cook, not Bell.

    CodanChips: "Bell scored that painfully slow 91 in the champions trophy" -- is this the same match that England score 269 and comfortably beat Australia buy about 50 runs? Bell was by far the highest scorer in that match across both sides. The next highest score was 55. Without Bell's "painfully slow" 91 (SR of about 80), England would've collapsed and lost that game. Is that what you'd preferred?

  • CodandChips on March 2, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    Neil Dyer agree with the theory "You could make a strong case that England would score more runs if Bell scored fewer." Bell scored that painfully slow 91 in the champions trophy and England only scored 260 odd. England scored 300 vs Aus in the ODI only when Cook and Bell failed. Wouldn't mind if CricInfo could do some sort of analysis on high team scores and winning matches compared to the individual scores of Cook, Bell, Trott & Morgan.

  • RAYKAY on March 2, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    Ashley, talk to the ECB, KP is your saviour, not sure if the Bell SOS would help.

  • wightred on March 2, 2014, 11:41 GMT

    @BRUTALANALYST. Unfortunately stats don't account for anything. A few seasons back I showed through stats that Chris Read was the best wicket keeper/batsman in the country. They still did not get him the recall he deserved.

  • mondotv on March 4, 2014, 6:19 GMT

    You can afford to have a Wright and you can afford to have a Lumb but can you afford two inconsistent but brilliant players at the top of the order? Hales I'd put in the same basket. Worse for Hales as class bowlers work him out he's going to be found out. Lumb is the key - he looks a dead ringer style wise for Matt Hayden but lacks his legendary concentration. With the natural power and strokes he has if he could just concentrate for 10 runs at a time then having Wright up the other end wouldn't be a problem. Hayden would walk out and dominate bowlers from ball one but if the wicket had something in it he'd drop back into run accumulation mode. Lumb needs to make these same assessments and adjustments to be truly world class. And he can be and not just in one dayers but in the test team as well. Oh and Ian Bell - technically sound - you could do worse.

  • JG2704 on March 3, 2014, 23:21 GMT

    I see there are plenty of comms against Wright being in the side.

    I really like the guy but maybe I have to accept he wont reproduce his county form often enough for Eng to justify his place in the side. There are reasons for and against selecting Bell.

  • CodandChips on March 2, 2014, 14:42 GMT

    @Aj_Tiger86 thanks for the stats. Perhaps I am too harsh on Bell. But in those games, scoring 50s hardly constitutes batting through which is/was his job. England only scored well because Bell got out relatively early, giving Morgan & Buttler more time. In the CT13 match considering the dire state Aussie cricket was in at the time, 250 would have been enough. Aussie bowlers did certainly not bowl well enough to restrict us to that score. Is was more due to the top 3 batting too slowly, and Bell in particular being unwilling to take risks at the end. This gave the finishers barely any time but a lot off pressure, hence the low scores by them. We had to rely on Bopara to get us up to 269.

  • Roshan_P on March 2, 2014, 13:51 GMT

    Wright once again is going to play at 3. He is a finisher more than anything else and he belongs down the order, where he could play an all-rounder's role if needed. The same thing is happening with Shane Watson - he should only be in the top-order in ODIs or T20s. Bopara, a quality batsman, is currently languishing in the lower-order. As for Bell, he's a great player but this series could have been the chance to try out someone new instead of sticking to the old guard.

  • on March 2, 2014, 13:17 GMT

    Ashes have nothing to do with a players ability to play the shorter format of the game Bell is awesome in ODI's but having Captain Clueless and not asking the likes of Carberry to be selected for the ODI's is retarted bell can play T20 seen him do it plenty for the Bears but english t20 is like taking candy from a baby when compared to BigBash and IPL. If Bell is in Root as to go and Butler makes street cricketers look like technical masters, the best players for England are in the Lions and may they stay there till a clear out of the England team properly begins, Morgan and Stokes I'd keep around

  • AJ_Tiger86 on March 2, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    @CodandChips: "England scored 300 vs Aus in the ODI only when Cook and Bell failed" -- well I don't know what you define as failure, but England scored 300 vs Aus in 2 ODIs in 2014 -- at Brisbane and at Perth. At Brisbane, Bell scored 68 off 84 and England posted 300. At Perth, Bell scored 55 off 52 and England posted 316. In the other 3 ODIs, Bell didn't score a 50, and England failed to score anything close to 300 in all those games.

    So it's pretty clear, England score more when Bell succeeds at the top of the order. And that's no conincidence because he is England's best batsman.

  • AJ_Tiger86 on March 2, 2014, 13:07 GMT

    @Neil Dyers: Bell didn't have a lower strike rate than Cook in 2013. Bell avg 43 SR 76.87, Cook avg 35 SR 75.16. Bell is without doubt better than Cook. So if England have a problem, then it's Cook, not Bell.

    CodanChips: "Bell scored that painfully slow 91 in the champions trophy" -- is this the same match that England score 269 and comfortably beat Australia buy about 50 runs? Bell was by far the highest scorer in that match across both sides. The next highest score was 55. Without Bell's "painfully slow" 91 (SR of about 80), England would've collapsed and lost that game. Is that what you'd preferred?

  • CodandChips on March 2, 2014, 12:53 GMT

    Neil Dyer agree with the theory "You could make a strong case that England would score more runs if Bell scored fewer." Bell scored that painfully slow 91 in the champions trophy and England only scored 260 odd. England scored 300 vs Aus in the ODI only when Cook and Bell failed. Wouldn't mind if CricInfo could do some sort of analysis on high team scores and winning matches compared to the individual scores of Cook, Bell, Trott & Morgan.

  • RAYKAY on March 2, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    Ashley, talk to the ECB, KP is your saviour, not sure if the Bell SOS would help.

  • wightred on March 2, 2014, 11:41 GMT

    @BRUTALANALYST. Unfortunately stats don't account for anything. A few seasons back I showed through stats that Chris Read was the best wicket keeper/batsman in the country. They still did not get him the recall he deserved.

  • on March 2, 2014, 10:52 GMT

    @jackiethepen you need to consider Bell's strike rate, though. It's lower than Cook's and Trott's. You could make a strong case that England would score more runs if Bell scored fewer.

  • bobmartin on March 2, 2014, 10:06 GMT

    Well decry Bell all you want, but he has to be better than Luke Wright who yet again failed.. How many chances has he had... and how many more will he get...There seems to be a thing about the England selectors and certain players.. No matter how badly they perform.. we have to keep picking them in the hopes that one day they will prove that we were right to select them in the first place... With others.. it's one or two chances, fail or your face doesn't fir and you're out on your neck.

  • jackiethepen on March 2, 2014, 1:12 GMT

    Bell summoned to Barbados? Won't he already be in Barbados with the Bears? The Warwickshire warm up Tour starts on Wednesday in Barbados. Won't the Warks squad be flying out Tuesday? The Bears fans might be miffed that Bell will be cover for England rather than playing for them. They are already missing Troughton (injured) and Trott (still recuperating on holiday). Still if Hales and Morgan recovers Bell doesn't have to go far to get a game...(Windward Club).

  • cloudmess on March 1, 2014, 23:52 GMT

    Bell is a fine ODI player, but this decision has no real logic. It smacks exactly of the kind of reactionary, short-termist thinking which Giles has just said he was going to avoid.

  • Bamber on March 1, 2014, 23:44 GMT

    I quite like the idea of Bell in T20s as he's got a range of shots and can give it a Tonk but clearly the most important ingredient is that he's "a world class bloke". Jade Dernbach must be a really nice chap then, because that can be only the only selection policy by which he qualifies?? My mates think I'm a TOP BLOKE and I'm a SERIOUSLY crap bowler, although perhaps not in JD's league, but perhaps I should highlight my availability...

  • on March 1, 2014, 21:38 GMT

    At last KP is gone, long overdue. Bell is our best batsman, has been for some time. He won the Ashes series last year.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on March 1, 2014, 19:00 GMT

    ODI's yes, but T20's? Seriously? Big Bell fan, but sorry - can't see him making significant impact in the T20's.

    Personally I want to see Bell opening in ODI's again with somebody like Lumb or Carberry. Sick of seeing this revolving door policy by England at the top of the order, with the likes of KP, Cook, Wright, Stokes, Root and now Ali. A good complimentary opening pair is crucial in ODI's, and Bell should be part of that.

  • on March 1, 2014, 18:24 GMT

    Good decision by ECB to considering about I Bell , they need him in sub-cont to handle the spin...

  • jackiethepen on March 1, 2014, 18:00 GMT

    Bell has wanted to add t20 to his repertoire for a while but has been frustrated - like all the players - by ECB scheduling which has prevented England stars from participating in the domestic t20 season. Ironically it was KP himself who fancied Bell as a t20 player. During his successful Delhi Daredevils season in 2012, KP called on the IPL to hire Bell instead of the lower grade Aussie players preferred by Aussie coaches (his words). KP ended up on the wrong side of Flower and Bell was never considered for t20 again.

  • CodandChips on March 1, 2014, 17:49 GMT

    @BRUTALANALYST I love Carberry, but fear his ship has sailed. He always looks uncomfortable playing for England. Be it in Dublin with the dropped sitters, home ODIs with the abysmal batting, test series with the sloppy dismissals and the dropped sitter. Just comes-across a nervous wreck.

    I also see you're quite knowledgeable on West Indies.Who are you following?

  • jackiethepen on March 1, 2014, 16:41 GMT

    Bell is barely worth his spot in ODIs, Neil Dyer? Doesn't say much for the rest of the team as Bell was leading ODI run scorer in 2013 averaging 43. In Australia post Ashes in ODI Series he contributed second highest runs after Morgan, averaging 42.

  • AJ_Tiger86 on March 1, 2014, 16:36 GMT

    Good decision. Bell is without a shadow of a doubt the best batsman England have got. He is class in all formats of the game. And best thing is, he's always ready to perform any role he's assigned -- be it as an opener or in the middle order -- without ever complaining.

  • SamWintson92 on March 1, 2014, 16:15 GMT

    KP KP KP ! I want KP back. KP fans all over the world will continue roaring with his name wherever Eng team goes. Noticed a fan in Antigua in the 1st ODI wearing a shirt which reads ''Why no KP ?, Scapegoat'' with a picture of KP.

  • on March 1, 2014, 16:13 GMT

    Why, Why, Why. Have to agree with the comment of "A world class bloke" - what a crass statement. There are plenty of "World Class blokes" out there, but I wouldn't put them anywhere near the England ODI / T20 squads.

    England's bowlers lost the first ODI V WI. Bell wouldn't have made a blind bit of difference. He should be one of the first names selected for test matches, but shouldn't be anywhere near England's one day squads.

  • BRUTALANALYST on March 1, 2014, 15:32 GMT

    Michael Carberry last yr's FP T20 = 502 Runs IN 11 innings at S/R of 143, 59 4's, 16 6's . . . To put that in perspective, Hales 365 RUNS IN 11 INNINGS S/R 146 32 4's 17 6's.

    Bell barely even turns out for this format and has little experience. England lack power and boundary hitters yet they don't call up Carbs the most prolific batsman in this format for the last 2 years? it's just just sad.

  • CodandChips on March 1, 2014, 15:28 GMT

    @Neil Dyer agree with you. Don't forget picking Rankin despite him having no county backing, and that England Lions side Giles managed that contained 4 Warwickshire players including Chris Wright and Keith Barker.

    Why on earth would you select Bell? Sure he can add stability, but he just builds too much pressure by batting too slowly. I know KP is gone, so why not select somebody with a good record in all formats, namely James Taylor or Gary Ballance. Ok Ballance struggled in Australia, but it's disgraceful discarding him after 5 matches, but clinging onto Bopara, Bresnan, Wright & Dernbach after repeated failures.

  • yorkshire-86 on March 1, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    And yet again Bairstow is treated terribly. He should be in the XI ahead of Stokes, Bopara and certainly Bell any day.

  • on March 1, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    'A world class bloke' seems to be more important for English cricket than an actual world class player. Remind me how much Bell sold for at the IPL auction ?

  • on March 1, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    This could well be Giles throwing off the shackles of Flower telling him which players he can and cannot select. Bell entered himself for the IPL auction so he clearly has T20 ambitions and he can shore up the 50 over games batting.

    Personally would rather England called someone out of the Lions squad, Vince maybe.

  • on March 1, 2014, 15:16 GMT

    Hmmm What about someone from the successful Lions.....anyone?

  • BRUTALANALYST on March 1, 2014, 15:16 GMT

    What has Bell done in T20's ? and what has Giles got against Carberry ? Ridiculous he hasn't been given a shot in the format he has dominated or even included to begin with.

  • Cricket24 on March 1, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    @Neil Dyers- Bell's average of 37 with 3 hundreds and 29 fifties in ODIs i think clarifies him for an ODI spot. Already the team is struggling and he's isn't a bad player at all.

  • on March 1, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    Warwickshire bias, anyone? Bell is barely worth his spot in 50 over cricket and is recently struggling in Tests, too, and yet Ashley Giles can only pick from teams he's bothered watching. Next up, Rikki Clarke, Boyd Rankin and Darren Maddy. He'd pick Jeetan Patel if he could. It's about time that the England set up is exposed for the apparently nepotistic fiasco that we all believe it to be.

  • Tedtheo on March 1, 2014, 14:47 GMT

    'Bell answers SOS' That's great! You get the idea Bell loves cricket so much he has an emergency kitbag always packed and placed next to his front door for such situations!

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  • Tedtheo on March 1, 2014, 14:47 GMT

    'Bell answers SOS' That's great! You get the idea Bell loves cricket so much he has an emergency kitbag always packed and placed next to his front door for such situations!

  • on March 1, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    Warwickshire bias, anyone? Bell is barely worth his spot in 50 over cricket and is recently struggling in Tests, too, and yet Ashley Giles can only pick from teams he's bothered watching. Next up, Rikki Clarke, Boyd Rankin and Darren Maddy. He'd pick Jeetan Patel if he could. It's about time that the England set up is exposed for the apparently nepotistic fiasco that we all believe it to be.

  • Cricket24 on March 1, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    @Neil Dyers- Bell's average of 37 with 3 hundreds and 29 fifties in ODIs i think clarifies him for an ODI spot. Already the team is struggling and he's isn't a bad player at all.

  • BRUTALANALYST on March 1, 2014, 15:16 GMT

    What has Bell done in T20's ? and what has Giles got against Carberry ? Ridiculous he hasn't been given a shot in the format he has dominated or even included to begin with.

  • on March 1, 2014, 15:16 GMT

    Hmmm What about someone from the successful Lions.....anyone?

  • on March 1, 2014, 15:21 GMT

    This could well be Giles throwing off the shackles of Flower telling him which players he can and cannot select. Bell entered himself for the IPL auction so he clearly has T20 ambitions and he can shore up the 50 over games batting.

    Personally would rather England called someone out of the Lions squad, Vince maybe.

  • on March 1, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    'A world class bloke' seems to be more important for English cricket than an actual world class player. Remind me how much Bell sold for at the IPL auction ?

  • yorkshire-86 on March 1, 2014, 15:25 GMT

    And yet again Bairstow is treated terribly. He should be in the XI ahead of Stokes, Bopara and certainly Bell any day.

  • CodandChips on March 1, 2014, 15:28 GMT

    @Neil Dyer agree with you. Don't forget picking Rankin despite him having no county backing, and that England Lions side Giles managed that contained 4 Warwickshire players including Chris Wright and Keith Barker.

    Why on earth would you select Bell? Sure he can add stability, but he just builds too much pressure by batting too slowly. I know KP is gone, so why not select somebody with a good record in all formats, namely James Taylor or Gary Ballance. Ok Ballance struggled in Australia, but it's disgraceful discarding him after 5 matches, but clinging onto Bopara, Bresnan, Wright & Dernbach after repeated failures.

  • BRUTALANALYST on March 1, 2014, 15:32 GMT

    Michael Carberry last yr's FP T20 = 502 Runs IN 11 innings at S/R of 143, 59 4's, 16 6's . . . To put that in perspective, Hales 365 RUNS IN 11 INNINGS S/R 146 32 4's 17 6's.

    Bell barely even turns out for this format and has little experience. England lack power and boundary hitters yet they don't call up Carbs the most prolific batsman in this format for the last 2 years? it's just just sad.