Ian Bell will open the batting in one-day series against West Indies, declares Andy Flower

“We don’t want him to do a similar job to Pietersen, we want him to be Ian Bell and play great international cricket,” said Andy Flower AFP

Birmingham: Jun 12, 2012

Ian Bell was recalled to the England squad on Monday for their upcoming three-match one-day international series against the West Indies.

Warwickshire batsman Bell returns to the limited overs set-up after being left out of England’s 4-0 one-day win against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in February, having struggled in the preceding Tests.

However, with Kevin Pietersen having retired from one-day internationals last week, England have a vacancy at the top of the order that Bell, who made an unbeaten 76 in the drawn third Test against the West Indies concluded at Edgbaston on Monday, is set to fill alongside one-day skipper Alastair Cook.

The 30-year-old Bell averages just over 34 in 108 one-day internationals and has scored just the one hundred.

However, England coach Andy Flower, speaking ahead of Saturday’s series opener at Southampton, said: “It is safe to assume he (Bell) will open.

“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.”

Many players have been tried by England in the role of one-day opener in recent years but Flower said Bell could make the position his own ahead of the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

“He’s really good quality,” said former Zimbabwe batsman Flower. “We believe he can form a successful partnership with Cook. I’m really excited to see him take up that challenge.”

With regard to England limited overs matches, Pietersen — who remains a Test player — had just wanted to appear in Twenty20 fixtures while opting out of 50-over clashes.

But that was against the terms of his England central contract and Flower said: “It’s important to make policy in the best interests of English cricket. You’ve got to be careful when setting precedents.”

Flower also said it was important 50-over one-day internationals remained respected by cricket’s leading teams.

“It’s a matter of principle and of supporting one-day international cricket. Protecting the integrity of one-day cricket is important.

“There is a danger, not of a mass exodus, but of players wanting to pick and chose. With the finances involved, there is a danger they might just pick Twenty20 cricket and this could denigrate the status of 50-over cricket.

“England have never won a 50-over ICC competition and we are very eager to do so,” Flower said.

“It’s really sad, mostly for Kevin. He’s had a tough couple of years in international cricket but he now looks as good as I’ve seen him and I think it’s sad he won’t fulfil this last part of his career in all three formats.” (AFP)