Bell vows to stay true to himself

Ian Bell has promised to do things his way after being given the tricky task of replacing England star batsman Kevin Pietersen for the third Ashes Test against Australia.

Pietersen’s Achilles injury has ruled him out of the remainder of the series, which England lead 1-0 with three matches to play.

The South Africa born batsman’s enforced absence has paved the way for Bell to revive his Test career here at Edgbaston.

The 27-year-old, who has played 46 Tests, was dropped by England during this year’s tour of the Caribbean after a run of low scores which featured just one fifty since his Test-best 199 against South Africa more than a year ago.

Although he averages over 40 in all Tests and has scored 706 first-class runs at an average in excess of 50, Bell has a poor record against Australia.

In 10 Tests against them he averages a lowly 25 and now the understated Bell has been brought in for England’s most flamboyant batsman in Pietersen.

”I guess it does so in certain ways,” said Bell when asked if he was under extra pressure after coming in for Pietersen.

”But I think when you go into games like this, it’s a big occasion.

”The whole batting unit has to go out and perform. We can’t rely on one guy to go out and score the whole runs for the team.

”Of course with someone like Kev, a world-class player, you’re going to miss that.

”But we all have our own tempo. Kev has his methods, I have my methods and strengths.

”There’s no point me trying to go out and play like Kev. I have to play to my strengths. And think about how I want to go out there and score my runs and contribute to getting a big first-innings score.”

Bell, who has batted in every position from No 3 to No 6 for England without ever making one of the spots his own, said his exile from the Test side really hit home during an early season Championship match while England were playing the West Indies at Lord’s.

”For me, seeing it here on the big screen and being at Edgbaston, really hit home what it means to be involved in a Test match for your country,” Bell said.

”For that first 10 minutes I couldn’t think of anything else but that.

”I had to quickly get that out of my mind because I was playing a game here. That was one moment I realised how much it hurt.

”When you’ve been a regular and it suddenly gets taken away from you, how much that really means to you.

”So you do a lot of thinking inside about what you want to do when you get that next opportunity.

”I still think I’ve got a lot to offer international cricket,” Bell added. ”I thought I’d have to wait a lot longer.

”I know it’s an injury but this is a chance I’ve got to go out there and show people how good a player I am and that’s something I didn’t think I’d get this summer.” — AFP



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Julian Guyer
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