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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John 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.

  • John 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.

  • Paulo 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 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.

  • Dummy4 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

  • Mainuddin 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.

  • Mainuddin 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?

  • Paulo 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.

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

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

  • graham 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.

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