Former England all-rounder Paul Collingwood has backed former Princethorpe pupil Ian Bell to return to form in time for the Ashes.
Bell’s struggles with the bat were encapsulated in the recent Test series against New Zealand, with the 33-year-old scoring just 43 runs in four innings over the course of the two Test matches.
The Warwickshire star, who also picked up a pair in the third Test against the West Indies in Grenada at the start of May, has subsequently been left out of England’s upcoming Royal London one-day series against the Black Caps.
But former one-day captain Collingwood insists it could be a blessing in disguise for the veteran, whose brother Keith plays for Kenilworth Wardens, with the first Ashes clash against Australia looming in early July.
“Belly’s obviously gone through a bad run of form and I’m 100 per cent confident because of his technique and ability he’ll be back playing well pretty soon,” said Collingwood, speaking as he launched Royal London’s summer of cricket.
“When you’re in the bubble of playing for England all the time in all formats it can be pretty hard to take a breather and step back and get that form back.
“I guess the selectors are giving him the best opportunity (by leaving him out) and there are a lot of young attacking strokeplay cricketers who will certainly be competing for what his spot was in the World Cup, and it’s up to those young guys to show they’re the right way to go.
“I’m pretty confident that there’s going to be some match-winners come in who will show what they can do.”
Bell is not the only experienced player to miss out on the ODIs against New Zealand as a new-look coaching set-up take a look at some of England’s promising youngsters.
James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Gary Ballance, Moeen Ali, Ravi Bopara and James Tredwell are all players who also miss out having played in the ill-fated World Cup campaign earlier this year.
However, the likes of uncapped Kent keeper-batsman Sam Billings have been given the chance and Collingwood says it could prove a wise decision in the quest to win back the urn.
“I guess from the management side they’ll want to have a look at the next generation and see what they’ve got, and come up with a decision based on that,” he added.
As a player you want to play for England as much as possible, but it’s certainly crucial that they’re rested and get their red-ball skills up to 100 per cent for the Ashes, but I would have thought they’d have been disappointed they’re not involved in the one-day games.”
Paul Collingwood was speaking at the launch of the Royal London Gilbert Cup, a new grassroots under-11 cricket tournament. www.royallondoncricket.com