Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bell: I'll Follow Strauss out of the Wilderness; Discarded No3 Says He Is Using the England Skipper as an Inspiration for His Own Quest to Win a Test Recall. by Tom Collomosse

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Bell: I'll Follow Strauss out of the Wilderness; Discarded No3 Says He Is Using the England Skipper as an Inspiration for His Own Quest to Win a Test Recall. by Tom Collomosse

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Collomosse

IAN BELL is using Andrew Strauss as his inspiration in an attempt to recover from the lowest point of his career and win back a place in the England team for next week's First Test against West Indies.

Bell will play for the England Lions against the tourists this week but has already stated his case to regain the No3 spot for the Lord's Test after a fine start to the season with Warwickshire, which has yielded two centuries in the opening week.

It was no surprise when Bell was dropped by England in favour of Owais Shah following a long run of poor form at the crease but although still scarred by his axing, he is taking heart from the way Strauss has turned around his international career during the last year.

The Middlesex batsman was on the verge of being cast aside by England, perhaps permanently, after being dropped for the preceding tour of Sri Lanka, before scoring 177 against New Zealand in March 2008.

Just one year, and seven Test centuries later, he was named permanent captain of the England Test side -- and maintained his purple patch today by scoring 150 for Middlesex against Leicestershire.

"Straussy was probably in a similar position to me 12 months ago," said Bell.

"But then he came back into the side, scored a great amount of runs and is now the first name on the team sheet." Long-touted as probably the most technically proficient batsman in the England set-up, Bell is aware that it is his frequent, and infuriating, lapses in shot judgement that have stopped him realising his full potential.

Admitting he was guilty of too often giving away his wicket cheaply after a promising start to his innings, Bell says: "I haven't scored the consistent runs at this level which I know I'm capable of.

"I have had some good days but I haven't done as well as I could. …

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