Andy Flower has backed Ian Bell’s experience and quality to make a success of his recall to England’s one-day International side.
“Ian Bell is a very experienced cricketer, even though he’s only 30,” Flower said. “He’s got a lot of international experience and he’s in great form. He is very confident at the moment.
Andrew Strauss also welcomed Bell’s recall. While admitting that he no longer had any input into the selection of the ODI side, Strauss referred to Bell as “one of the best players in the world” who can “adapt to any form of the game”.
Bell, replacing recent limited-overs retiree Kevin Pietersen, is the only change to the 14-man ODI squad that faced Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in February.
Bell will open the batting in the series against West Indies that starts at West End on Saturday, with Flower admitting the selection has been made with more than an eye to the next World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.
The right-handed Bell’s last ODi was against India in Kolkata in October last year, when he scored two before dismissed by spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Solid form, including three half-centuries in four innings, in the Test series against the West Indies, though, afforded him a return to the Test fold on Monday.
Meanwhile, batsmen Jos Buttler and Alex Hales and spinner Danny Briggs have retained their berths in the squad for the lone Twenty20 International. Hales is expected to open the batting alongside Craig Kieswetter in the absence of Pietersen.
“We are anticipating a very competitive series against West Indies and are looking to continue to build on the progress we made in limited-overs cricket earlier this year against Pakistan,” said national selector Geoff Miller.
“Kevin Pietersen’s recent decision to retire from one-day cricket means we now start looking at other options available to us as we prepare to defend our World Twenty20 title and look towards next year’s Champions Trophy and the 2015 World Cup.”
“This might just be the opportunity he needs to cement his place in the one-day side,” Strauss said. “I think we all know his quality and it’s great for him to be back in that one-day set-up.
“He has shown plenty of times that he is capable of doing a very good job in one-day cricket, maybe he just hasn’t had that one breakthrough innings that really grabs the game by the scruff of the neck and wins it for England. I think once he does that the world is his oyster. He’s such a fine player that he can be up there with the very best.”
ODI squad: Alastair Cook (captain), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Craig Kieswetter, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Graeme Swann, Jonathan Trott.
T20I squad: Stuart Broad (captain), Jonny Bairstow, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Danny Briggs, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Craig Kieswetter, Eoin Morgan, Samit Patel, Graeme Swann.