Bell backs rotation policy for others

Ian Bell wants England to emerge on top of their fitness ahead of a long schedule

Ian Bell wants England to emerge on top of their fitness ahead of a long schedule

First published in National Sport © by

Ian Bell is all in favour of England's rotation policy for those who need a break - but he will not be volunteering for a rest himself.

England's resurgent one-day international opener has backed the selectors' decision to rotate frontline bowlers Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann for Friday's final NatWest Series match against West Indies at Headingley.

The implementation of a policy England coach Andy Flower has long spoken of but, until recently, not acted upon has met with mixed reviews from pundits and even players, but Bell said: "There's a heavy schedule coming up. We need to look after these guys. The key to our success in one-day cricket is having five out-and-out world-class bowlers."

James Anderson did not appear enamoured with the decision to leave him out of the final Test against the Windies at Edgbaston this month.

However, Broad, selected in that squad and then eventually rested anyway, has spoken up for the idea of trying to protect England's most skilled resources from the worst effects of an exhausting schedule across all three international formats.

Broad, Bresnan and Swann are the the only three remaining England regulars - following the limited-overs retirement of Kevin Pietersen - for Tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20.

Bell contends that, especially with the series already won before England travel to Leeds, it has to make sense to spare them another 100-over encounter - with five ODIs against Australia and then three Tests against world-beating England's nearest pursuers South Africa all to come in the next two months.

Bell, who has returned to the top of the 50-over order in Pietersen's absence with a century and a half-century in victories at the Ageas Bowl and then on Tuesday at The Oval, added: "If we want to beat the Australians, we want these guys fit and fresh and ready to go. For the three guys who play in all three forms of the's going to be crucial.

"There's this big series against Australia coming up, and South Africa after that. It's a good option to let them have a bit of a breather - and it gives an opportunity to the likes of [Stuart] Meaker, [Chris] Woakes and [James] Tredwell.

"When I played for the Lions, Meaker is genuinely fast - so it will be exciting to see him have a go. Looking down the line, at World Cups and Champions Trophies, it's great to give these guys an opportunity and gain more experience."


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