Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Impressive Ian Ready to Be Match-Winner

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Impressive Ian Ready to Be Match-Winner

Article excerpt

Byline: By Myles Hodgson

Ian Bell fears he has to begin converting impressive performances into major hundreds if he is remain as a regular in England's top order in all formats of the game.

The Warwickshire batsman has been the only ever-present for England this winter during a long campaign which began in India for the Champions Trophy last October and included Test and one-day campaigns in Australia prior to this World Cup in the Caribbean.

But he is well aware that if he is to remain as a key member of England's top three, he has to start converting his impressive performances into major centuries.

Bell has played 30 innings against international opposition this winter and his highest score so far was the 87 he scored against Australia in the second innings of the third Test in Perth last December despite passing 50 seven times.

He is yet to score a century in 42 one-day international appearances and Bell knows he needs to improve upon if he is to remain an established member of the England set-up.

"I still feel I need to kick on a bit more," admitted Bell, who will celebrate his 25th birthday in the Super Eight showdown with Bangladesh at the Kensington Oval.

"I've played pretty well and got myself in, but I've had 12 months or so in the top three so I need to kick on and turn these 50s and 60s into hundreds.

"If I want to be in the top three for England in the next few years, that's certainly what I'll have to do. It would be nice to score a hundred before this winter is over. It's reassuring that I've been picked in every game this winter and scoring 77 in the game against Australia helped me a little bit with that."

Having been moved up and down the order at great regularity for the majority of his England career, his relatively short switch from number three to opener against Australia on Sunday was one which required probably the least transition.

Apart from the group match against the minnows of Canada, when Ed Joyce and captain Michael Vaughan forged a century opening stand, Bell had not walked out to bat with more than 12 on the board in any of the other matches during the tournament. …

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