Prime Minister's XI v England XI, Canberra January 10, 2011

In-form Bell eyes Twenty20 spot


Ian Bell believes he has made a strong case to be included in England's Twenty20 side after a match-winning 124 against the Prime Minister's XI which continued his outstanding form on the tour of Australia. Bell hasn't been part of the Twenty20 side since 2008, but with Craig Kieswetter out injured there is a vacancy at the top of the order.

Michael Lumb, the Hampshire opener, has been drafted into the squad although his form is nowhere near that of Bell's after making just 2 in his first Big Bash appearance for Queensland. Lumb opened throughout the World Twenty20 in West Indies, but hasn't appeared for England since, due to a combination of a form slump and injury.

Bell's run-scoring spree could mean Lumb misses out again against Australia, in Adelaide, on Wednesday. "I'll have to wait and see," Bell said. "I obviously haven't done myself any harm today. I'll do anything that is asked of me and hopefully there'll be an opportunity around the corner."

Paul Collingwood, the England Twenty20 captain, admitted Bell's form had made life tougher for the selectors. "He's in fantastic form and has been since he arrived in Australia. That was a very clinical innings," he said. "He's staked a claim for the Twenty20 side so we'll have to gauge things and take it from there."

And the selection dilemmas will stretch beyond the two Twenty20s when the one-day series begins next week. Kevin Pietersen was dropped for England's last ODI contest against Pakistan but it would seem inconceivable that he won't return after a solid Ashes campaign which leaves Bell and Jonathan Trott fighting for one spot.

"In all forms of our game we have good competition," Bell said. "That's what we need. This one-day series will be exactly like the Ashes, we aren't going to win it with 11 players. We've got some guys who've had a good run out today so that's even better for us."

Bell's innings meant a tough start to his captaincy career for Tim Paine who earlier scored a neat half-century to set up the PM XI's innings. He could do little to stem the flow of runs as England batted, but that was largely down to poor bowling rather than any particular decisions he made. As Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke have found out in recent weeks, leadership is tough without control in the field.

"It was just one of those games, an opportunity for me to practice being in charge of a team," he said. "It's something I haven't done before and I'll sit down and have a think about it, have a chat to some people after this is to come up with a few things that I can improve on and some things that I did well."

Paine is vice-captain of Australia's Twenty20 team and is confident that the bowlers in that unit will be able to stop the England juggernaut. "Wednesday's a completely different game, a completely different set of bowlers," he said. "We'll probably go in with more plans on how we want to bowl to the opposition."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on January 11, 2011, 15:20 GMT

    steven davies plays because right now, he is the best one day opening bat in the country, bar none. he had an amazing season for surrey and is the future. plus, its not a bad thing to keep prior fresh for test cricket. its hard enough, and tiring (both physically and mentally) enough keeping wicket. and for the record Prior averaged 36 in limited over cricket last season, Davies average 60.

  • ygkd on January 11, 2011, 4:55 GMT

    Warnie would have been far smarter on England's last tour, instead of giving Bell an unflattering nickname,if he'd given him an Australian passport instead. It would have solved Australia's number 3 problem.

  • The_Frame on January 11, 2011, 1:20 GMT

    i dont really get what is wrong with matt prior playing in all forms and why davis does, hes not as good as prior with either bat or gloves, and its not as if prior is a defensive batsmen he could slot up the order if needed.

  • landl47 on January 11, 2011, 0:58 GMT

    Bell is in the kind of form which makes it very difficult to leave him out of any side. If anything, it's easier to pick the T20 side because Trott really isn't in contention. However, in the ODI side it might be Morgan who misses out. He simply hasn't played enough cricket to be preferred to Bell and Trott on their current form. It's a pity he wasn't given a chance to bat in the match yesterday.

  • dummy4fb on January 10, 2011, 16:54 GMT

    England probably for the first time hav a problem of plenty.. Nearly anyone they try out strikes gold... I think England is the only cricket playing nation currently which can boast of atleast 20 players good enuf to play for them in every form of cricket.. They are soon goin to the number 1 team n i see them holding on to that spot for a considerable amount of time...

  • dummy4fb on January 10, 2011, 16:43 GMT

    Lumb IS a World T20 winner so he should be in the sqquad most definitely....

  • RAVI_BOPARA on January 10, 2011, 16:18 GMT


  • MaruthuDelft on January 10, 2011, 12:42 GMT

    @kuruwitta. England and Australia don't need advice from Sri Lanka. Instead send some nice tea.

  • mariofan97 on January 10, 2011, 9:22 GMT

    2 answers to all the t20 and odi questions


    THEY ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • dummy4fb on January 10, 2011, 8:48 GMT

    I am also looking for John Howard and his big mouth supporters.

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