Bell of the ball
Cricket Writers gang reflect on England man's timely century
Last Updated: June 17, 2012 1:20pm
Ian Bell has all the tools to be a successful one-day opener.
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"It was a brilliant innings; he didn't put a foot wrong or play an ugly stroke. "
Mike Selvey Quotes of the week
That's the view of Guardian scribe Mike Selvey after the England batsman struck 126 on his return to international limited-overs cricket to help his side beat West Indies on Saturday.
Bell, who replaced the recently-retired Kevin Pietersen at the top of the order, had made just a solitary century from his 108 ODI appearances before the clash at the Ageas Bowl.
But Selvey was impressed by the Warwickshire star's technique and ability to effortlessly find the boundary during his 117-ball knock.
"It is funny the way sport throws things up like that. Bell probably wouldn't have been playing had KP not retied and suddenly he is indispensable to the side," Selvey told Cricket Writers on TV.
"It was a brilliant innings; he didn't put a foot wrong or play an ugly stroke. He took 18 off the sixth over of the game and particularly the six that he hit was a magnificent strike.
"It was not a bludgeon which shows that he can play that part of the game as well; he can go the aerial route if he needs to. That was really significant and shows he can up the ante."
Paul Newman, meanwhile, believes that Bell's ODI career has struggled to take off because he was never handed a settled spot in the batting line-up.
But the Daily Mail man reckons that the 30-year-old will play a pivotal role for England at the top of the order, along with Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott, now that two new balls are utilised in ODI cricket.
"It is a big success for the selectors and another one they have got right," said Newman. "They could have turned to Ravi Bopara or they could have turned to Craig Kieswetter again because Bell only had one century and a strike rate of about 73.
"But Bell was brilliant and there is no reason why he shouldn't succeed in one-day cricket; it's one of the great mysteries why he hasn't up to now.
"Maybe it's because he has been shunted up and down the order a bit. He ended up at six not too long ago but opening is his right place."
Newman continued: "You can't necessarily see [Bell, Cook and Trott] succeeding on Indian pitches but the difference now, as Cook has been pointing out, is these two new balls at the start of the innings.
"That means you need proper players and Cook says this is the top three for all conditions now and they will go with this until the 2015 World Cup. It is basically picking specialists, Test match players, and backing them to adapt."