England news March 1, 2014

Bell answers England SOS

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