Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
England batsman Ian Bell has called on the national team to be a lot more aggressive during their upcoming seven-match ODI series against Sri Lanka.
Bell’s comments come after England suffered a 3-2 defeat in their ODI series against Sri Lanka and a 3-1 thrashing during their ODI series against India this summer.
“In this country so much is built around Test cricket and Ashes cricket, but we’ve never won a 50-over tournament so the incentive is there to be the first English team to win a World Cup, you don’t need any more motivation than that,” Bell said. “We’re lucky to be able to pull on the England shirt and go and have a crack. There is a lot of hard work to be done but when we get out there we’ve got to be aggressive, we’ve got to be fearless and give it everything. I think people would rather see us be aggressive and lose instead of being timid and come away with nothing. Everyone’s mindset is to play aggressively.”
Bell is also keen on continuing to come in at number three, even though he averages 45.65 as an opener. He was moved down one spot after Alex Hales earned his maiden call-up to the squad during the ODI series against India.
“Hopefully I still see myself batting at number three where I was moved to at the end of the summer,” he said. “I will bat wherever I am asked, I love opening the batting but three is not much different and I just have to go and do it. In the last couple of years in one-day cricket, apart from the little bit of inconsistency in the summer I couldn’t have argued about how it’s gone since I got back in the side, consistently scoring runs at a good rate. So hopefully I can get back to that and kick on.
“It’s exciting for all the guys, to compete for places and get in the squad. That’s what we need, I don’t think you want 11 guys knowing they are in the 11, you want that little bit of edge, people playing for places. We are playing for England, it’s not a club side on a Saturday, we need that competition and the England teams I have played in at our best, when you know there is someone right behind you pushing for your place, that gets the best out of players.”
Bell also revealed that he has carefully studied India opener Rohit Sharma’s record-breaking knock of 264 against Sri Lanka since it has given him some idea of how to build an innings.
“The thing is, it is amazing watching him play because he doesn’t slog, they are proper cricket shots,” he said. “I didn’t see it all but the facts are there: India didn’t get off to an absolute flying start, what he did really well is what we have talked about before, he batted the 50 overs and that was the important thing. The way he scored at the end, that is possible for all our players, but you have to bat that time.”
However, Bell stated that if England are going to have a good chance of winning the seven-match ODI series, then they will need big contributions from the top order batsmen.
“The stats of English cricket, Marcus Trescothick still has the most hundreds and he is probably the one guy you would say has the amount he should have,” Bell said. “Going back we have had some great one-day players, but we haven’t stacked up a lot of hundreds. Whether that is to do with the conditions we play in in England, I don’t know, but if we can do that in Australia, we can have somebody scoring a hundred and guys playing cameos around that, we can get our reward.”