Vaughan backs Bell to shine
Michael Vaughan is tipping Ian Bell will help guide England to Ashes glory.
Last Updated: 23/07/09 11:19am
Former captain Michael Vaughan believes Ian Bell will help guide England to Ashes glory against Australia this summer.
Bell, who lost his place in Andrew Strauss' side to Owais Shah and then current incumbent Ravi Bopara, is set to be handed a reprieve following Kevin Pietersen's injury woe.
Pietersen has been ruled out of the remainder of the Ashes after being forced to undergo surgery on a persistent Achilles problem.
Bell, the Warwickshire batsman, appears certain to come in for the third Test at Edgbaston next week when England will look to defend a 1-0 series lead.
And he has received the backing of his former skipper.
"He's done well in international cricket, he averages 40 (40.59), there are question marks about him but there are about a lot of players. He'll be very motivated," Vaughan said.
"He mustn't try too hard. If he goes in so desperate to do well it might not happen. If he just relaxes and plays he's got so much talent. Don't try to play the perfect innings, just play in his natural way and I'm sure things will happen.
"It's his home ground as well. Being called up at Edgbaston with an England team 1-0 up, he can't get any better than that."
England selector and director of cricket at Warwickshire, Ashley Giles, has also backed Bell's credentials.
"Since he's been back with us at Warwickshire he's been in very good form and has done everything right," he said.
"He's played over 50 Test matches already and his integration into the side would be very easy. That's very important during such a big summer.
"Bell has played against the Australians before, he's got a good record and knows what he's up against and what might be coming and the pressure that goes with it."
Vaughan believes England can see off the tourists without Pietersen and, even though there are further fitness doubts over another key man in Andrew Flintoff, he is confident the hosts' bowlers can instigate a series triumph.
"Yes, he'll be missed but he won't be too missed because of the way he's been playing, because the injury has been affecting him so much," Vaughan added.
"I believe they can do it without Pietersen - if they lost Freddie (Flintoff) as well, that would make it a harder task.
"If the ball continues to swing as it did at Lord's, I fancy us to win 2-0, it might be 3-0 if it swings a lot."