Bell has always been one of England’s most talented batsmen but despite being easy on the eye and technically superb, England always knew there was something missing. At 29, whispers of Ian Bell’s maturity have indeed become reality, after being dropped from the test side in February 2009 Bell has shown guts, grit and determination to make the most of every opportunity to bat for England which some argue, may have been everything he lacked prior to being replaced in the side. Over the past two years he has delivered some exceptional performances in the test arena, but why the sudden change from scoring pretty 20’s and 30’s, to consistently hitting huge hundreds? At the time he may have been heartbroken however I’m sure now that Bell realises, been dropped in Antigua was the best move for his international career. With no technical issues to work on Bell knew that only a mental alteration was necessary, and after a successful county season for Warwickshire Kevin Pietersen’s injury during the 2009 ashes series opened an opportunity for Bell show his grown as a player and his ability to score “ugly runs”, he hasn’t looked back since. Scoring two hundreds and five half centuries in 2010 at an average of 65.5 as well as five centuries and two half centuries in 2011 at an average of 118.75, Bell is clearly now one of England’s most reliable batsmen.
Gone are the days when the youngster was tentative and look to play the perfect innings, here is the man that is positive and assertive in all aspects of his game. Finally we can start to see the full extent of his talent in the manner we were meant to, Paul Collingwood’s position at number five could never have hoped for such a confident and elegant player to fill his place. With this new found maturity comes further speculation over his batting position in this brilliant batting line up, Bell has always publicised his ambitions to bat at number three for England however, moving Trott, a stubborn mastermind out of this position, especially when he has been so consistent is unlikely to happen in the near future. Though the opportunity for England to do so is always there as he proved himself once again in the recent test series against India batting at number 3 and scoring a massive 235 in an assured and positive manner. Since the days of Michael Vaughan’s retirement England have been searching for a solid replacement at number 3, is it possible that they now have two? Or is the script written so perfectly that with the future retirement of captain Andrew Strauss, Trott will move up to open, just as he has done in the past and bell will slot in beautifully at number three, experienced and mentally tough enough to be successful for many years.