West Indies in England 2012

Bell replaces Stokes in Lions squad

George Dobell

May 5, 2012

Comments: 33 | Text size: A | A

Ian Bell on his way to a half-century, Warwickshire v Durham, County Championship, Division One, Edgbaston, 1st day, May 2, 2012
Ian Bell made 120 in Warwickshire's Championship win over Durham © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Ian Bell | Ben Stokes
Series/Tournaments: West Indies tour of England

Durham allrounder Ben Stokes has been ruled out of next week's England Lions match against West Indies with a back injury. Warwickshire's Ian Bell has replaced Stokes in the squad for the four-day fixture which begins in Northampton on Thursday.

While Bell made a century in the Championship match against Durham this week, he was keen for more time in the middle following a lean spell of form. Prior to that century, Bell had passed 20 only four times in his last 20 first-class innings and admitted that he had felt out of sorts at the crease. Warwickshire do not have a Championship game next week, so Bell had intended to content himself with facing Warwickshire's bowlers in a net on the square at Edgbaston.

"I just haven't have enough time at the crease," Bell said following his century. "I'm netted out, to be honest. I've had enough time in the net. It's scoring runs that helps your confidence and your form. I feel I've just been scratching around. It started in the UAE, but even here, in the last two games, I just didn't feel the rhythm was there. Even the 50 I made in Sri Lanka, on a really good batting wicket, felt like hard work."

The news is a further setback to Stokes. Although he made his international debuts in T20 and ODI cricket towards the end of last season, he was hampered by a finger injury that forced him out of contention for the winter tours. The back injury is not thought to require surgery and is thought to be a recurrence of a stress reaction that bothered him as a teenager. He will receive anti-inflammatory injections in his back this week but will not be available for Durham's match against Somerset.

Geoff Miller, England's national selector, said: "It is unfortunate that Ben's injury has ruled him out of the match against West Indies. Ian Bell was keen to play another game ahead of the Test series and after performing well for Warwickshire this week this match provides an ideal opportunity for him to continue his preparations as well as helping to ensure England Lions prove challenging opposition for West Indies."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Meety on (May 8, 2012, 12:23 GMT)

@JG2704 - just one more thing re" Lions v Bang A. The Bang A side was a pretty good one, & I wouldn't be surprised if half that side make International debuts in the next year or so. I think the Eng Lions did beter in SL, as the pitches were of a better quality than the ones in Bangladesh which are pretty dead. In Bangladesh, life as a fast bowler is a pretty thankless occupation.

Posted by Meety on (May 8, 2012, 12:19 GMT)

@jg2704 - the comment about the Lions was more of a retort, it actually doesn't represent my complete views on Englands generation Next, (actually think they're a good crop). I was very interested in the Quadrangular ODI fixtures held in QLD a mth or so ago, & England were quite good (albeit these players were younger than the Lions quoted in this thread). My comments were based basically on the premise that who's bench strength is "better" is really just conjecture. I am absolutely positive for example Oz pace bowling is very strong, however a comment on another thread by an English supporter was interesting as he compared the "top 10" bowlers from Eng v Oz & concluded there wasn't much difference. There was a few minor parts of his methodology that I disputed, but it was a an attempt at being objective. BTW - agree 100% on your comments @SirViv73, Ponting's last 12 mths has no direct correlation to batting depth, rather a product of policy.

Posted by JG2704 on (May 8, 2012, 8:50 GMT)

@Meety on (May 08 2012, 00:20 AM GMT) I know this wasn't directed at me but Eng lions did better vs SL lions than they did vs Bang A. Whether this was because they improved or because Bang A are better than their SL counterparts I don't know? We all know that alot can change in the time before the next Ashes series both with English and Aus batting and that a batsman who hasn't been on the fringe can come in from nowhere and do a job,

Posted by JG2704 on (May 8, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

@SirViv1973 on (May 07 2012, 19:28 PM GMT) - Just playing devil's advocate here . You mention about the lack of depth to Aus batting and that Ponting wasn't dropped. Maybe Aus have a similar policy to England re giving their batsmen (too much?) time. Eng weren't exactly ruthless (and I feel they should have been more ruthless) with their underperforming batsmen. SM - who I presume is Shaun Marsh - was dropped after the India series and in any case Aus were still thrashing Ind without him. In fact Ponting (who should have been dropped after NZ) was awesome vs India. I'm not saying Oz or Eng has/or has no batting depth. But Eng have done the same with struggling batsmen in the very recent past and if anything it could seem that Eng have even less confidence in their batting depth because at least Australia were still winning while perserveering with their underperforming batsmen.

Posted by Meety on (May 8, 2012, 0:54 GMT)

@JG2704 - I would prefer to have the batting line up settled by now (barely 12mths to the next Ashes), however, we have plenty of time to make adjustments now. My MAIN concern right now is that between the home summer & the next Ashes we play India in India. The problem I see, is that it will be poor preparation for the Ashes. On the positive - it should be hard fought cricket, on the negative - the pitches & bowling attack will bear almost no semblance to England conditions & bowling. I would hope we select a side for India that will be horses for courses & not a trial for the Ashes. It annoyed me greatly that Oz surrendered home advantage for the last Ashes by playing a 2-test series in India prior to the 2010/11 Ashes. I actually like to see Oz sacrifice the Champ Trophy by selecting a Test team (batsmen), for the ODI tournament. So in summary, when it comes to Oz cricket, I am optimistic, but the Oz line up is NOT crystal clear yet, & won't be until after the SL series IMO!

Posted by Meety on (May 8, 2012, 0:40 GMT)

@JG2704 (cont) - as far as Watto, I think he can do well, he did Okay last time & hopefully he can get his mental application right. I see him (& Cowan) as buffers (not buffet!), to the middle order. regarding Ponting - I am torn, I think he is a champion, but aging & am not sure he is the best man to determine whether he is still valuable to the team. Atm - I am backing him all the way to the Ashes - but the Saffas at home will be the acid test. Clarke, I feel will deliver the goods, & then there is Huss. He is in decline & like Punter will be tested by the Saffas & that to me will determine whether he gets an Ashes ticket. Superficially (assuming Cowan, Punter & Huss fail the Saffa test), we can improve the batting line a number of ways. I feel Rogers & D Hussey are almost ready made test players & should perform, my confidence in D Hussey has improved as his ODI performances have settled at a higher level over the last 12mths. (TBC)

Posted by Meety on (May 8, 2012, 0:31 GMT)

@JG2704 - my position re: the Ozzy batting line up is a bit like a farmer looking at his orchard. Currently we have some good apples being sent off to market (test cricket) - some have been rejected by the market (batsmen who haven't delivered), some of my apples aren't selling as well as I like atm (Hussey & Ponting), but I have plenty of trees just starting to bear fruit (up & coming batsmen), they're just too ripe. I have more confidence in the selection process to manage who to pick & when, then the last time the Ashes rolled around. My specific take is this - 1. Cowan SHOULD deliver better returns in England than in the WIndies, its more like Hobart where he has done well against good attacks & he is still improving. Warner is a very dangerous prospect, he surprised a lot of people with his innings in Hobart, he scored a couple of ODI tons as well, he is maturing at a fairly rapid rate, I expect him to do well in England. (TBC)

Posted by Meety on (May 8, 2012, 0:20 GMT)

@landl47 - most of the young England players you mentioned got rolled by Bangladesh A. So it is all relative, you mention overweight Cosgrove, what about Patel???? You conveniently forgot to mention that Nevill actually has a FC ave of 45 over 21 games - which is more than a handful, you say he is just wicket keeping reserve, yet you name Bairstow who's FC ave is fairly similar AND is a wicket keeper! BTW - I didn't mention, AB Mac, Rogers, D Hussey or Smith, Khawaja & Hughes or Maxwell who all have the ability to contribute over the next 2 yrs. IMO - given that Oz bowling stocks are well placed, & the Oz pitch conditions have also generally favoured bowling, any of the batsmen mentioned will not find the step up to test cricket as daunting as it may seem. "This is the barest Aus cupboard I ever remember..." & yet we're #3 with a bullet!!!!!!

Posted by JG2704 on (May 7, 2012, 20:28 GMT)

@Meety - Just wondering how you stand re the Aus batting. Do you look on the negative side in that the top order are underperforming or the positive in that the lower order/tail are doing the business? After our bad tours of UAE and SL the last thing I'm going to do is criticise any other batting line up. The only Aus player you listed I've seen is Cosgrove who seemed ok but very overweight. As for Bell - still maintain he should have been dropped due to being the worst of a badly performing batting line up who lost test after test.However if Bell is performing I'm happy for him to be there. Besides the horse has bolted now. I do however hope that if the same happens again as that what happened UAE , Strauss/Flower are braver with their selections. I doubt that will happen so I just have to hope that Bell continues his decent form.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (May 7, 2012, 19:28 GMT)

There clearly is no depth in Aus batting, if there was RP would have been dropped after the NZL series or possibly sooner! Big things were expected of UK & he has been a massive dissapointment in tests & domestically since he returned to the shield . The same can be said of SM after he filled his boots against SrL and then managed 17 in 5 inns against the limp ind attack. If you look at what happened in the recent Shield competition there were no young batsmen putting their hands up. EC has got in to the side on the back of half dozen knocks in last years shield 12 mths ago no1 would have considered him an option & to be honest an aver under 30 in 12 test inns against pretty moderate attacks doesn't bode well. Warner has shown promise but the jury is still out as he hasn't faced any of the worlds better bowlers yet, SW is decent but remains injury prone & unable to make 100s! & with RP & MH comin to an end the only confirmed class act who is likley to be around a while is MC

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