West Indies in England 2012 June 20, 2012

Bell sympathy for paying fans


With England leaving out three frontline bowlers for the final one-day international against West Indies the issue of rotation has again been brought to the fore. It has ignited the debate about whether the game is being cheapened, especially for those who have paid considerable amounts for tickets to the match at Headingley.

Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann - the three players missing Friday's ODI - are the only first-choice picks across all three formats for England following Kevin Pietersen's limited-overs retirement and Ian Bell, who is now back in the 50-over side as Pietersen's replacement, understands that some of the public will be disappointed at not seeing a number of the star names.

"Of course, I have some sympathy," said Bell. "It has slightly weakened our attack, but I still think it is a team that can go out and beat West Indies. There's no doubt people want to come to see the Broads, Andersons and Bresnans. But they will be seeing young, exciting guys who will be big players for England over the next few years."

Andy Flower, the England coach, has been firm in his explanations of why he is taking such an approach which included resting Broad and James Anderson from the final Test against West Indies. With England facing another five ODIs against Australia, followed by a full series in all formats against South Africa, then another hectic away season he believes that key players cannot play every match.

Bell agreed there was a balance to strike. "There's a heavy schedule coming up," he said. "We need to look after these guys. The key to our success in one-day cricket is having five out-and-out world-class bowlers. So if we want to beat the Australians, we want these guys fit and fresh and ready to go. For the three guys who play in all three forms of the game ... it's going to be crucial."

So far this season it has only been the bowlers or allrounders who have been rested although Andrew Strauss was among the first players given time off by Flower when he missed the Bangladesh tour in early 2010.

Although Bell sees the merits of rotation for the bowlers he has no desire for any downtime himself, especially after hitting a rich run of form which has seen him return to ODI colours with scores of 126 and 53. One of the major reasons behind England's defeat against Pakistan earlier this year was the rustiness of the batsmen after a two-month break, with Bell suffering particularly badly in the UAE, and he does not want to risk a repeat.

"Going into the UAE series, we'd had two or three months off - and I felt I'd lost my rhythm completely," he said. "So batting-wise, for me if I'm batting the better I play. It's out of my control if Andy was to give me a game off. But personally, from a batting point of view, if I'm out in the middle scoring runs, I want to stay scoring runs - definitely."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • PanGlupek on June 22, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    To try and give this some perspective, Man United played 54 matches last year, Wayne Rooney played 44 of them. I've worked out that England played maybe 80 days of cricket between last October & now, about half of which were 5 days straight. I know it's a bit unfair to compare the type of fitness required for both sports, but if Rooney needs a game off every 10 matches or so, I'd guess a bowler would need a rest maybe every 10-12 games to stay at thier peak, so fair play England for resting these guys. @SIRSOBERS: Not that the article had anything to do with England pinching players, but I do feel sorry for Ireland & wish they could somehow get fast-tracked to test status to avoid that (they won't, too many reasons to talk about here). As for SA, if people like KP & Trott aren't getting chances there & they have family with British passports, that's SA's fault for not aknowledging them. What should Eng's selectors do, not pick the best players available to them?

  • JG2704 on June 22, 2012, 7:58 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas - Not sure there would be enough overs for Gayle to score a 50 , let alone Bell

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on June 22, 2012, 4:48 GMT

    Good luck Ian. Looking forward for another 50+ score from your willow.

  • jmcilhinney on June 22, 2012, 1:54 GMT

    @LabMan on (June 21 2012, 15:30 PM GMT), it's your prerogative to feel that way but I hope you're not implying that ECB should care. Maybe you should feel more disrespected by your own players showing so low regards for your cricket that they'd rather play in an Indian domestic tournament for the money than play for WI. Those players were doing what they considered best for them and ECB are doing what they consider best for English cricket. Assuming the game isn't washed out, if WI win then you can say "I told you so".

  • JG2704 on June 21, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    @LabMan on (June 21 2012, 15:30 PM GMT) - It's a full strength batting line up with a 2/5 bowling line up. If England had such a low regard for WI cricket they'd have not played a full strength side in the 1st 2. You have to understand that now the SA series is alot more important. Also please bear in mind the weather. Likelihood of little if any play

  • JG2704 on June 21, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    @Stark62 on (June 21 2012, 14:10 PM GMT) Re "Who cares about the rested English players, when Gayle is playing!!" - Answer English cricket fans

  • AdrianVanDenStael on June 21, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    @MartinC: "There is a world of difference though in the intensity of playing pretty much full time International cricket and turning out in County cricket in front of a few hundred spectators and playing some pretty mediocre cricket back in the late 70s and 80's on the English County circuit." I don't think English county cricket was at its worst in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and particularly not in the early 1970s when Botham and Willis, e.g., were playing. It actually got worse in the late 1980s when rules on playing overseas cricketers were made more restrictive. Since then the rules have been freed up a bit again, with the effect that the county game has got tougher, partly because competition for places has got more fierce. Notwithstanding the many complaints, both from England fans and others, about the numbers of "foreigners" and "Kolpaks" in the English game, these have actually contributed to the strengthening of English cricket, especially at the county level.

  • BRUTALANALYST on June 21, 2012, 16:44 GMT

    @Richard Bradstock THERE is a HUGE difference between players growing up and learning the game in a country like Usman Khawaja representing Australia youth teams than there is England poaching the likes of KP.KIESWETTER.TROTT that all grew up supporting and learning the game in South Africa representing South Africa U19's quite frankly it's embarrassing and needs to be stopped. The same should be said about the Irish Joyce/Morgan and now DOctroll how can the ECb expect cricket to grow in Ireland when all the best players are taken by England ?

  • JG2704 on June 21, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    @Martin Hick on (June 21 2012, 10:46 AM GMT - not the worst idea there

  • LabMan on June 21, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    I feel so disrespected as a West Indian that the English have so low regards for our cricket that they have fielded basically a second string team

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