England captain Andrew Strauss has paid tribute to Ian Bell, calling him a ‘a versatile cricketer’ following his match-winning half-century in the opening One-Day International against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge.
England strolled to victory by six wickets with five overs to spare thanks to great batting performances from Strauss, who scored 50 from just 37 deliveries and Ian Bell, who ended proceedings on 84 not out from 101 balls and Strauss says that Bell's ability to bat anywhere in the order means he is a key component of the current one-day squad.
Strauss said: “The great thing with 'Belly' is that he can pretty much bat anywhere in the order, he is a pretty versatile cricketer, when you see him play innings like he did today, the top of the order seems like the more logical place - he can bat around that number three mark.
"He plays the spinners well so to come in lower down in not a big issue and that is part of the reason he has forced his way back in to the squad, is that he is adaptable.”
Bell has been on the fringes of the England set-up in the recent past, playing for Warwickshire and the England Lions. He averages 56.66 in the 2010 Clydesdale Bank Pro 40 competition, with an impressive strike-rate of 104.29, as well as 30.77 in the five Championship games he has played.
Bell added: “I felt confident in my ability to go out, we played the same team in a Test match not only a month ago and I have gone away with Warwickshire just trying to work as hard as I can on playing spin bowling, hitting boundaries in the middle overs and ticking over and that is what hopefully I have put in to today, a bit of the hard work I have put in over the last 12 months.”
Bell feels that he is still one of the fridge players in the England squad but was grateful that he was able to show some of the improvements that he had made to his game.
“We have got a line-up that has been fantastic over the last 12-16 months and I have got to keep working to be around this squad and I think that is my goal and it is great to get the opportunity to go out and through this injury and resting that I got the opportunity to go out and play which is great. I am one of the reserves but it was nice to be in some good form for the Lions. I worked hard in the week and to get the opportunity was great.”
© Cricket World 2010