Bell warned he must add runs as well as experience to England
ENGLAND coach Trevor Bayliss has warned Ian Bell that the experience he gives the team is not enough to ensure he retains his place.
The 33-year-old must also bring runs to the table, Bayliss said ahead of the start of the third Test against Pakistan in Sharjah on Sunday.
Bell briefly considered calling time on his career after helping England regain the Ashes two months ago but has now committed himself to the national team, and has set his sights on being a part of the 2017-18 Ashes in Australia.
There, in his own words, he hopes he can “right the wrongs” of the miserable whitewash England suffered on their last trip Down Under in 2013-14. To do so, though, he has been left in little doubt that he will have to improve significantly on his 2015 output.
Bayliss acknowledges Bell’s experience counts, in a developing team currently 1-0 down with one to play against Pakistan, but not as much as runs. Bell contributed two crucial 50s to England’s cause at Edgbaston mid-Ashes, and has added two more handy scores so far on the tour of the United Arab Emirates. But flashes of his world-class best will not be enough in the long term.
Bayliss said: “We need him from that experience point of view but what I’m saying is – and everyone’s fully aware of it – that results count as well. Just because you’ve got experience, you’ve still got to be performing as well. The players know that, and the selectors and coaches make their decisions based on performances at the top level.
“Obviously, at the moment, we don’t have a lot of experience in the batting order, and I think it’s important we have got some experience in the team,” Bayliss added. “On this tour, if you just take the aggregates and averages of our batters, he’s probably in third spot or round about. I’m sure he’d like to be scoring more runs as well – and he’s a guy who works very hard at his game.”
There would be few better times for a Bell revival than in the days ahead and his fellow veteran James Anderson has seen enough over the years to keep the faith.
“He’s itching to score runs,” England’s linchpin seamer said of his long-standing team-mate. “He wants to get the scores he knows he can get.
“He’s had a pretty lean six to 12 months for him ... so he’s itching to get a match-winning contribution for us, which we know he can, and he knows he can. We hope it will come in this Test.”