Vaughan: I back Bell to be Ashes success

FORMER captain Michael Vaughan is backing Ian Bell to step into the shoes of Kevin Pietersen and lead England to Ashes success.<br /><br />Bell is set to earn a recall for the third Test with Australia at Edgbaston next Thursday with Pietersen ruled out for the rest of the series with an Achilles injury.<br /><br />And Vaughan, who captained Bell during his four-year spell in charge of the side, believes the Warwickshire batsman is the natural replacement.<br /><br />&ldquo;He has done well in Test cricket and averages 40 40.59,&rdquo; Vaughan said. &ldquo;If he just relaxes and plays he&rsquo;s got so much talent. He should just play it in his natural way.&rdquo;<br /><br />Right-hander Bell was a regular in the England starting XI until poor form against India last December led him to be dropped after the first Test defeat to West Indies in February.<br /><br />He hasn&rsquo;t featured in the England Test side since but has shown promising form for Warwickshire this season, scoring 640 runs at an average of 80 before he was skittled for just seven against Hampshire this week.<br /><br />Although Bell boasts a respectable Test record, he hasn&rsquo;t enjoyed the best of times against Australia over the years. In the triumphant 2005 series, he made 171 runs in 10 innings, with a highest score of 65, although he did manage four half-centuries and an average of 33.10 in the return series in 2006/07, which ended in a 5-0 whitewash.<br /><br />&ldquo;He must not try too hard,&rdquo; Vaughan went on. &ldquo;He&rsquo;ll be very motivated, but if he goes in so desperate to do well it might not happen. He needs to not try to play the perfect innings. It&rsquo;s on his home ground as well so being called up at Edgbaston with an England team 1-0 up &ndash; it can&rsquo;t get any better than that.&rdquo;<br /><br />Vaughan was encouraged by England&rsquo;s first victory at Lord&rsquo;s in 75 years and believes Andrew Strauss&rsquo;s men can build on their 1-0 series lead even without star man Pietersen, but fears the loss of Andrew Flintoff would be harder to take.<br /><br />&ldquo;I believe England can win the Ashes without Pietersen but if they lost Freddie as well that would make it a harder task,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve said all along that if the ball continues to swing like it did at Lord&rsquo;s I fancy us to win 2-0. It might be 3-0 if it swings quite big.&rdquo;