ENGLAND chiefs have made it clear they hope Ian Bell will replace Kevin Pietersen in the one-day team, starting on Saturday against West Indies – although Bell should have been there all along.
He is playing very well, looks really confident and extremely focused and I expect him to get some big scores this summer.
One factor against him has been his failure to convert 50s into centuries, which you need your top-order batsmen to do at one-day level. But while he used to get nicked off early, feeling for the ball outside off-stump, his footwork has greatly improved lately, and he is playing straighter and therefore doing better.
Pietersen’s retirement from one-day and Twenty20 internationals, meanwhile, could yet present selectors with a devilish dilemma later this year. It seems he did not want to quit T20s, just ODIs, but England coach Andy Flower and others did not feel that fitted in with their plans.
So he has retired from everything but Tests. But what if he announces in a month or two that he wants to play in the T20 World Cup?
Perhaps selectors would stick to their guns, but he is arguably the best T20 batsman in the world and it would leave them with a very tricky call to make.
Andy Lloyd is a former England Test cricketer who captained, and then later acted as chairman of, Warwickshire.