Bell ready for Lions chance

Warwickshire batsman expects Australia to play game like a Test

Last updated: 1st July 2009   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Bell ready for Lions chance

Bell: Leads a strong Lions line-up into action at New Road

The next few months is important for me to keep in good form. If an injury, or lack of form occurs amongst one of the batsmen, I've got to make sure I'm in the best possible form if I get an opportunity

Ian Bell
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Ian Bell is determined to impress when he leads the England Lions into battle against Australia at New Road, live on Sky Sports.

The four-day fixture in Worcestershire is the final chance for the tourists to get some match practice before the start of the Ashes series.

But while Ricky Ponting's team will be looking to get ready for the first Test at Cardiff, many of the Lions XI will hope to catch the eye of the national selectors.

Bell captains a side that also contains Steve Harmison, with the pair keen to carry their county form into the contest as they attempt to force their way back into England's plans this summer.

Desperate

"When you have played a considerable amount for your country, when you are not there it hurts and you miss what you used to do a hell of a lot," Bell said.

"You are doing everything you can to get back into that team and myself and Steve Harmison are no different to that. We are both desperate to get back into an England shirt.

"We are both in good form in county cricket and this game for the Lions is another opportunity to show much we want to get back into an England shirt.

"For me, when I got back from the West Indies, I had to put the Ashes to the back of my mind. I had to get the runs in county cricket to give myself a chance to be part of the Ashes and I've done that.

"The next few months is important for me to keep in good form. If an injury, or lack of form occurs amongst one of the batsmen, I've got to make sure I'm in the best possible form if I get an opportunity."

While Bell was recently included in England's 16-man pre-Ashes training squad, Harmison found himself left out in the cold.

However, having seen first-hand how well the Durham paceman is bowling when he played against him recently, the Warwickshire batsman believes his team-mate is back to somewhere near his best.

Bell added: "He (Harmison) got five wickets in that game and I felt Steve was back to his best and in seriously good rhythm, swinging the ball at very good pace.

"It was hard work to face him and, if he stays in that sort of form, there will be some sort of cricket for him this summer (with England). There is no doubt about that."

As well as Harmison, Bell will have fellow international seamers Graham Onions, Sajid Mahmood and Tim Bresnan at his disposal.

The Lions skipper wants his team to play in an aggressive manner against the Australians, who he expects to take the game very seriously indeed.

Last opportunity

"It is Australia's last opportunity before Cardiff and we expect them to come out as if it is a Test match," Bell added.

"That is the kind of preparation we would go into when on tour so I fully expect they are looking for a really tough match and, with the side we have got at the minute, everyone is in pretty good form. That is why they have been picked.

"Can we stop them getting momentum? I don't think we can worry too much about what they are going to do. We know an Australian team are always going to come out and play aggressive cricket.

"We want to go out and play the brand of cricket that England are starting to play.

"These guys in this side will go into the game with a lot of confidence and not worrying too much about it being Australia and just playing the way they have done the last few months."