Ian Bell has been one of the most prolific run-scorers for England in international cricket and over the years has been the spine of their middle-order. Bell featured in England’s line-up in the 2005 Ashes and played a crucial role in the side’s win in 2013. However, Bell hasn’t been at his best is recent times and that’s a fact which has hurt England. As their batting-order collapsed like ninepins in the second innings in the Lord’s Test, Suraj Choudhari feels that the axe might come down on Bell for his poor form.

After a remarkable victory in the first Test at Cardiff, England were heavily dominated by the Aussies in the second Test at Lord’s, which saw them emerge victorious by 405 runs. England’s batting line-up after posting a respectable total of 312 runs in the first innings looked dazed and fragile while chasing a target of 509 in the second innings as they were done and dusted for a mere score of 103. What created an upset for the supporters was the fact that England didn’t put up a fight. One of main reasons behind this was Bell’s outing with the bat. His performance in both the innings cuts a sorry picture as he looked tentative and managed to get scores of one and 11 respectively. [Female fan’s embarrassing moment captured on camera]

Bell’s form in the recent times hasn’t been good. The 33-year-old right-handed batsman, who has consistently scored runs in Tests, is lately finding it difficult against seam. One of England’s mainstays, Bell’s career graph has witnessed a drastic fall. In last six Tests, Bell has only managed to collect 117 runs at a poor average of 10.63. His moment of glory being his knock of 60 in the second innings of the first Ashes Test at Cardiff.

Earlier this year, during England’s tour of West Indies, it seemed he returned to form with a match-winning hundred in the first Test. However he followed that with a score of one in the second Test and bagged a pair in the third. Against New Zealand in the next series, Bell notched only 43 runs from four innings and kept getting out at crucial times.

Designed by Srushti Takale
Designed by Srushti Takale

There is no doubt about Bell’s ability or technique; in fact he is one of the most technically sound English batsmen. His footwork, hand eye co-ordination, exquisite cover-drives and magnificent flicks are a delight to watch. Apart from this, he’s also a wonderful player of spin. But his lack of form is taking a heavy toll on the side. It is also affecting his confidence and he hasn’t been catching well too. [Ashes 2015: Moods and moments from the second Test at Lord’s]

Bell played a key role with the bat in Ashes 2013 in England, where in five matches he scored 562 runs at an impressive average of over 62, notching up three centuries in the series.

Australia dropped Watson after a dismal performance in the Cardiff Test. He was replaced by Mitchell Marsh, who did a reasonable job. Taking a leaf out of the Aussie book, England may look to do the same. Considering Bell’s stature, the team management may give him a lifeline at Birmingham. Often we have seen that pressure brings the best out of quality players and if that doesn’t happen for Bell, the axe is bound to fall on him.

(Suraj Choudharian avid cricket follower who plays the sport at club level, is a staffer with Criclife)

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