With Kevin Pietersen out of the One-Day-International scenario completely, England coach Andy Flower has recalled Ian Bell for the 3-ODI series against the West Indies, which starts on the 16th of this month.
The 30-year-old Warwickshire batsman will make a return to the 50-over format of the game more than four months after his previous ODI. He was dropped from the ODI squad before England faced Pakistan in Febuary. They won that series 4-0.
After Pietersen’s sudden exit from short-format games last week, coach Andy Flower confirmed Bell as his replacement and as the person to fill up his vacant top order spot.
With 108 ODI appearances, an average of just above 34, a modest strike rate of 73 and just one century to his name in ODIs, Bell might not be even slightly close to Pietersen, but flower has full faith in him and has said that Bell will prove worthy. The English coach was quoted by a cricket website saying: “We don't want him to do a similar job to Pietersen, we want him to be Ian Bell and play great international cricket. He's got a lot of international experience and he's in great form, very confident at the moment. You saw some of that form and skill yesterday (Sunday). With the two new white balls (in one-day internationals) we want great quality batsmen up front and he is one of those.”
The opening spot alongside ODI captain Alastair Cook which many players have tried before, is what Bell could make his as a permanent spot ahead of the 2015 World ICC World Cup, Flower added later, showing a lot of confidence in the batsman.
Bell has been in excellent form in tests, scoring an unbeaten 76 in his previous one against the Windies, but has failed to click in shorter formats. There will be a lot riding on him this Saturday. “He's really good quality. We believe he can form a successful partnership with Cook. I'm really excited to see him take up that challenge,” the coach was quoted adding later.
Meanwhile, Bell had some interesting words of his own and sounded pretty confident about taking up Pietersen’s slot. He was quoted by a website saying, “It was a real shock when I heard the news about Kev. He is his own man and makes his own decisions. Captain Alastair Cook made some comments about it giving an opportunity for someone else — and I certainly want to get myself back into the England team in all forms of the game. I’ll be working hard to take the opportunity should it arise. There are younger players coming through but I hope I still have a shout. I have unfinished business in ODIs. In one-day cricket I’d like to nail down a position in the top three.”
Let’s hope the rains don’t play spoilsport to what should be an interesting series.