At 32 years of age, Ian Bell has been promoted to one of the most senior members of the England squad with the recent withdrawals of Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann from the international stage.
And now is an ideal time for the Warwickshire man to ascend even higher up the Test side hierarchy with a promotion to the fourth batting spot. During a transitional time, it would not be too big a risk to take.
The team’s fall from the top of the Test rankings, atrocious Ashes tour of Australia, and group stage elimination at the World T20 have heralded the second spell of Peter Moores as Head Coach.
Replacing Andy Flower, the former Lancashire Coach is tasked with rebuilding the national side, and returning them to the glory that they had become accustomed to just 12 months ago.
Putting his own touch on the side will be achieved through team selection, which could see a few first caps being awarded during the series with Sri Lanka this summer.
The reigning World T20 champions will compete in two Tests and five One Day Internationals. Despite being whitewashed down under, England actually remained undefeated on home soil in the longest format of the game in 2013.
A 2-0 series win over New Zealand and an unassailable 3-0 score line against Australia rounded off what was a successful year – prior to the return series with the Aussies.
But key players have departed the dressing room since, and it is up to those remaining to help ease a new generation of England international players into the side.
Alastair Cook has his work cut out and he could do with help from the likes of Bell – who could have quite an impact batting at number four.
His experience of opening in ODIs has showcased the diminutive batsman’s flexibility and another boost up the order could extract the very best of his batting ability.
Bell’s smooth and assured style tends to have a calming effect on those around him, which is a great asset to have when you are walking to the crease early in an innings if the top two have faltered.
Gary Ballance, Joe Root and James Taylor are just some of a whole host of English batsmen knocking on the door of the ECB. While all three of these relatively inexperienced players have bright futures ahead, their development may be aided by batting lower down the order.
A decade into his international career, Bell has recorded 20 centuries in Test match cricket and is closing in on becoming one of the top 10 English run scorers of all-time.
Now in his thirties, the middle-order batsman would be a role model for incoming Test hopefuls to learn from, and will continue to be one of England’s most consistent players.
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