Moores faced tough call over Bell

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Published: Thursday 15th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Ian Bell appears to have inked his name into England’s World Cup batting order, but coach Peter Moores admits his recall as opener was touch and go.

Bell sat out the last five one-day matches in Sri Lanka before Christmas, with Moeen Ali, Alex Hales and captain Alastair Cook all preferred at the top of the innings.

But Cook’s poor form saw him dropped and created a vacancy alongside the impressive Moeen.

Bell edged out the more aggressive Hales to earn first crack at the spot in Australia and responded with 51 and 187 – an England one-day record – in the two warm-up fixtures.

Going into Friday’s Carlton Mid Tri-Series opener against Australia, England appear to have called right, but Moores did not come to the answer easily.

“It was always going to be a tight decision because Alex is a really good player,” said Moores.

“We said all along we’ve got good players so all those decisions are going to be tight and of course you always feel for the guy that misses out.

“But you’ve got to make a choice and we chose to go with Belly and Moeen.

“We had to pick what we thought was the best opening partnership, Moeen and Belly got that, and the order was picked. We played it in the two games for a reason, to get it settled with a view to playing it on Friday.”

Moores was ultimately swayed by Bell’s vast experience, a trait that sets him aside from Moeen and new number three James Taylor.

Bell boasts 150 ODI caps, while Moeen, Taylor and Hales share a total of 25.

“I think you’ve heard (captain) Eoin Morgan speak about putting that experience figure in the team and Belly is a really good player,” said Moores.

“We know we wanted to look at Moeen in Sri Lanka, which we did, and with Alastair moving on that spot became available. So it seemed a good fit, especially with James Taylor at three, to put that experience in there.

“Belly’s played in World Cups before, played in big games before and he gets an opportunity first and obviously he’s taken it in the warm-up matches.”

Bell’s lengthy international CV does beg one significant question, with three one-day hundreds a modest return on his talent and number of appearances.

He vowed to change that after his mammoth ton against the Prime Minister’s XI and his coach expects the same.

Moores said: “His record over the last two years as an opening batter is very good so he’ll want to keep getting better, he’ll want to score bigger and more significant scores.

“It’s not been something that’s been a great trait with England batters over the years, compared to some countries, so it’s an area we want to get better at.”

Published: Thursday 15th January 2015 by The News Editor

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