Flower backs Bell to blossom
Andy Flower admits it's "safe to assume" that Ian Bell will open the batting for England in the one-day series against the West Indies.
Last Updated: 11/06/12 6:44pm
Andy Flower admits it's "safe to assume" that Ian Bell will open the batting for England in the one-dayers against the West Indies.
The Warwickshire right-hander seems to be the replacement for the now-retired Kevin Pietersen after being recalled to the 50-over squad for the three-match series.
Bell is the only new name from those involved in England's most recent 4-0 series victory over Pakistan in February and although there are other options available, he will be the one asked to fill Pietersen's sizeable shoes.
However, Flower does not want the 30-year-old to try and become the man he is replacing, insisting he must just play his own game at the top of the order.
"It is safe to assume he (Bell) will open," Flower said.
"We don't want him to do a similar job to Pietersen, we want him to be Ian Bell and play great international cricket.
"He's a very experienced cricketer, even though he's only 29 or 30. He's got a lot of international experience and he's in great form, very confident at the moment.
"You saw some of that form and skill yesterday. With the two new white balls we want great quality batsmen up front and he is one of those.
"He's really good quality. We believe he can form a successful partnership with (Alastair) Cook. Of course there are alternatives and we've considered them very carefully.
"But we believe the man who has got the best chance of making it a success against two new white balls is Ian Bell. I'm really excited to see him take up that challenge."
Pietersen's absence from all limited-overs formats also creates an opening in the Twenty20 side, with Nottinghamshire's Alex Hales the most likely candiate after being named in a 13-man Twenty20 squad.
The ODI series gets under way on June 16 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton with the one-off Twenty20 international taking place at Trent Bridge on June 24.