Bell steps back into England role to fill Pietersen one-day void

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Amidst Kevin Pitersen’s shock retirement from one-day cricket with England, selectors have once again turned to Ian Bell to take up the role of opening batsman.

This represents the third time the selectors have sought after Bell to end his exile from one-day internationals, though mixed results have emanated on the previous two occasions.

Indeed, Bell’s average is far more impressive in Test cricket, though his reputation as one of the country’s finest batsmen cannot be in question, and his record over 108 ODI’s still stands up quite well.

What appeared to hinder his last tenure as a one-day batsman for England meanwhile, was the bizarre position in which he was placed in the batting order.

Bell entered at number six during that time, but must improve on his last stint as an opening batsman if he is to take the mantle at the top of the order once again.

He managed only five half-centuries in 27 outings as an opener, and a run rate not far excessive of four per over also didn’t fairly reflect his undoubted ability.

His most recent recall would seem to make him a beneficiary of circumstances in the aftermath of Pietersen’s decision to quit, as many believe Bell wouldn’t have been in line to come out of the ODI wilderness if he hadn’t taken this course of action.

However, as demonstrated by his performance in England’s recent third Test against the West Indies, he remains a supremely talented batsman, and has the ability to adapt to the shorter form of the game.

England coach Andy Flower told BBC Sport of Bell’s recall, “We don’t want him to do a similar job to Pietersen, we want him to be Ian Bell and play great one-day international cricket. He’s only 30, but he’s a very experienced cricketer and he’s in great form, which you saw on Sunday.”

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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