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Bell: I thought Ashes dream had passed

ENGLAND batsman Ian Bell admits he had to scrap thoughts of playing in the Ashes after being dropped earlier this year.<br /><br />The Warwickshire man has been handed an international recall for the third Test against Australia, which starts on Thursday at Edgbaston.<br /><br />Bell replaces the injured Kevin Pietersen in batting at number four as England look to build on the 1-0 lead they established last week at Lord&rsquo;s. But he concedes that vying for the urn seemed a faint prospect after he was axed during the tour of the West Indies. &ldquo;When I got back from the West Indies after the winter tour, I really had to put the Ashes to the back of my mind,&rdquo; said Bell. &ldquo;I had to get the runs with Warwickshire to give myself a chance to be part of the Ashes and overall I&rsquo;ve done that.<br /><br />&ldquo;It was important for me to keep in good form in case there was an injury or someone was showing a lack of form. I had to make sure I was in the best possible form.&rdquo;<br /><br />Aside from a hiccup against Hampshire last week, Bell has scored consistently well at county level since his England snub. And with the agony of that setback still fresh in his mind, he is determined to avoid further pain and keep a tight hold on his place.<br /><br />&ldquo;When you have played a considerable amount for your country, when you are not there it really hurts. You miss what you used to do a hell of a lot,&rdquo; he added. &ldquo;You will do everything you can to get back into that team. You are desperate to get back into an England shirt.&rdquo;