Bell targets England Test return
Ian Bell, the Warwickshire and England batsman, has set his sights on a Test recall. Overlooked for the Tests against Sri Lanka, Bell hoped to use the two remaining NatWest Series fixtures to further his chances of a return to the five-day game.
"Even if things have not gone well, there are opportunities to push yourself forward personally," Bell told BBC Sport. "I want to be back in that England team for the Tests as quickly as possible." After playing a part in all five Ashes Tests last summer and six in the subcontinent over the winter, Bell said he was obviously disappointed at being axed: "It was not a nice feeling to have so any chance I get to play for England I'm going to approach it like it's my last chance."
Bell has averaged 41.33 in the series against Sri Lanka even as England slid to their 13th defeat in 17 games and conceded victory 3-0. Still, Bell insisted: "We don't believe we're far away from winning games of cricket. Results haven't gone how we want them but we don't think we're that far away in certain departments to really play some decent cricket."
Meanwhile, Paul Collingwood, the England allrounder, viewed England's run of ODI defeats as a failure to carry out instructions. In his column for BBC Sport, he wrote: "We've got our plans. They're probably the right plans but as players we haven't executed them right. I would say England are 15 to 20% down on all aspects of the game, for whatever reason, and we just have to put it right because it's not good enough. We don't want to go down 5-0."
He also came to the defence of Duncan Fletcher, England's coach. "If we've been out-thought by Sri Lanka it's in the execution of the plans rather than the plans themselves," he said. "I hold my hand up - I'm making 30s and I should be seeing the team through. That's my role in the side.And there are bowlers there who would say they have a holding role and they're giving them four balls."
The series ends at Headingley on Saturday, with England's next assignment being four Tests and five ODIs against Pakistan going into September.