Moore to come?

Bell the frontrunner, but could Moore get the nod?

Last Updated: 23/07/09 7:39am

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Moore: could he get the nod?

Moore: could he get the nod?

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Sir Ian Botham and Michael Atherton had differing views on how to replace Kevin Pietersen for the rest of the Ashes series.

"If you're going to fill a spot at the top of the order, it might be a chance to play another opener at three and Ravi Bopara at four."
Sir Ian Botham Quotes of the week

Pietersen confirmed on Wednesday that he would not take part in the rest of the Ashes series after having surgery on his Achilles tendon injury, posing a selection headache ahead of the third Test at Edgbaston.

Ian Bell is regarded as the frontrunner to fill Pietersen's shoes, but Botham feels England's selectors might want to take the opportunity to bring another opening batsman into the side, allowing the struggling Ravi Bopara to move down the order.

That might open the door for somebody like Stephen Moore, who hit 120 against Australia in an England Lions match at the start of July.

"There's an opportunity for someone such as Stephen Moore," Botham told Sky Sports News.

"He's one of the guys that scored runs for the Lions against Australia with Brett Lee in the side. He must come into the shake-up.

"I suppose the other person they'll maybe look at is Ian Bell. We'll see which way they go, but it's a chance for whoever it is.

"If you're going to fill a spot at the top of the order, it might be a chance to play another opener at three and Ravi Bopara at four. That might give Ravi, a stroke player, a bit more respite from the new ball.

"That could be the way to go so perhaps Stephen Moore might come into the equation to bat at three."


However, fellow Sky Sports pundit Atherton would rather see the experienced Bell come into the side for the rest of the series.

Bell has been in good form for Warwickshire in the County Championship this season, but his record against Australia has been called into question.

He has an average of just 25.10 in 10 Ashes Tests, but Atherton feels his experience makes him the best candidate.

"Ian Bell's a good player," Atherton told Sky Sports News.

"He's a high-class player with a good Test record. Alright, he hasn't been at his best against Australia in the couple of series that he's played, but helps to have a player coming in who is experienced in Test match cricket.

"He's played in 40 or 50 Tests, he's been around the block, he knows about the international game.

"I think it's preferable to have somebody like that coming into an Ashes series than a complete newcomer."

No argument

While the debate continues about who will replace Pietersen, Botham insists there is no argument about whether or not Pietersen has made the right decision.

He says Pietersen had no choice to go under the knife because it was necessary for his long-term fitness.

"It had to be done, he's struggled for a little while with his Achilles," Botham added.

"He saw a specialist and he advised him the best - and quickest - way of getting back out on the field was having the op.

"I wouldn't write him out of the whole of the Ashes yet. They're talking about maybe four weeks. He might miss the Ashes but at the end of the day it's better this way than him doing some serious damage to it and being out for six, eight or 10 months.

"Of course he's going to be a miss, he's such a fine player, but having said that he's struggling with the bat. He's frustrated with the way he's playing because he can't play the way he wants with the injury.

"I wholeheartedly support him. I think he should get it done for the long-term future."

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