Bell must bat for England if they are to turn around India series
England must surely find a batting spot for Ian Bell if they harbour realistic ambitions of avoiding a whitewash in their one-day series with India.
Although their bowling has not been especially impressive, it is arguably in the batting department where England have fallen short in the opening two games of the series and been comprehensively beaten.
One argument is that the lower middle order is too green and the players are not capable of rescuing an innings if the openers fail to make hefty contributions.
Ravi Bopara, Jonny Bairstow and Samit Patel are all largely inexperienced when it comes to Indian conditions and the latter duo are still finding their feet in the one-day game in general.
Blooding the trio in India at the same time is a dangerous ploy, especially against an Indian side massively at home on the sub-continental pitches.
However, Bairstow does already have a century to his name and should be persevered with, while Bopara’s calm head and runs earlier in the summer should ensure he cements his place.
The reason for Patel’s inclusion is because he is also a relatively handy spin bowler, but it is unlikely that he will ever get through a full allocation of overs and bits and pieces players are no use to England in India.
To win they need batsmen who can score runs and bowlers who can take wickets.
With Craig Kieswetter also getting found out at the top of the innings, the best strategy may be to drop Patel for a wicket-taking bowler, possibly leg spinner Steve Borthwick to provide some variation.
Then Bell could be brought in for Kieswetter, either as a direct replacement at opener or at number four, which would mean both Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen are moved one spot up the order.
Bairstow can take over behind the stumps as wicket keeper.
England’s cricket odds are 5/4 to win the third one-day clash with India at Mohali, although it would be no surprise if Alastair Cook named an unchanged team again and this will mean another Indian victory, which can be backed at 8/13.