Ian Bell dropped for England Test series in South Africa

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Ian Bell has been left out of the tour of South Africa - the main headline in a squad that welcomes back Nick Compton and Gary Ballance also.

While replacing Bell with Ballance or James Taylor is a pretty straightforward solution at number three, the decision is still significant to drop a player who has played 118 Test matches. He has the eighth highest total of runs in England history and is known for being an elegant player with a vast portfolio of different shots.

In what is an incredibly young England team, Bell was pivotal in bringing much needed experience to the team. Aside from captain Alastair Cook and bowlers, James Anderson and Stuart Broad, England will field a very young and inexperienced XI in South Africa. 

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South Africa boast the best bowling attack in world cricket. The prospect of facing Dale Steyn is enough in itself to worry England's batsmen but more concerning is the fantastic support the rest of the attack provides. 

Losing one of the most experienced batsmen prior to facing the number one Test team in world cricket has received a mixed response so far. What can't be questioned is that whoever does replace him has huge shoes to fill.

The batting order itself will have to change as Moeen Ali is unlikely to open the batting again. This could pave the way for Nick Compton to open alongside Alastair Cook. This in turn means Ali will have to be fitted in somewhere, so the order will more than likely shuffle from what we saw against Pakistan.

England have other problems too, with Mark Wood not being fit the bowling attack will change as well. England are almost certain to return to using one spinner, which means that England will have to decide whether to add another batsmen given the opposition attack or add another seamer to compliment their own. 

The positive change would be to bring in another seamer, with Chris Jordan a possible option. An excellent fielder, a wicket taker and a bowler who can bat a bit. Sounds like the perfect fit for this England team. 

England fans: Has Ian Bell played his last Test match? Have your say below!

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Ian Bell
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