The omission of Ian Bell from England's tour of South Africa might conceivably have brought his Test career to an end, either because England look elsewhere long-term or because he decides to announce his international retirement.

But Bell is not expected to retire from all cricket. He has always expressed the wish to give something back to Warwickshire by continuing his county career and has ambitions to captain them if the opportunity presents itself.

The possibility of Bell playing all season for Warwickshire would add to a formidable batting line-up as Jonathan Trott gets back in the rhythm of county cricket and the up-and-coming Sam Hain seeks to attract England's attention.

It is no surprise to find Yorkshire 7/4F to pull off a hat-trick of titles, but Warwickshire are joint second favourites at 6/1 and that price could tighten if the feeling grows that Bell's England days are over.