Bell determined to disprove doubters

LONDON: Ian Bell warned Monday that he is ready to disprove his doubters when he makes his first appearance in the current Ashes series on his home Edgbaston ground this week.

Bell, who has not figured in the last seven Tests since being dropped during the winter tour of the West Indies, will replace the injured Kevin Pietersen as England look to build on their 1-0 lead over Australia.

The Warwickshire batsman said: "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.

"You will do everything you can to get back into that team. You are desperate to get back into an England shirt.

"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.

"I had to get the runs in county cricket with Warwickshire to give myself a chance to be part of the Ashes and overall I've done that.

"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 if I got an opportunity."

Bell added: "The message that has come out from England is there is a lot of cricket this summer.

"With the amount of international cricket there is now, it is not just 11 players who are going to win games of cricket for England over a year.

"It is a squad effort. England need a strong squad of players and that is what is starting to happen."

Bell was in the squad for the opening two Tests at Cardiff and Lord's but will now feature in the first eleven while Pietersen recovers from his Achilles problem.

Bell backed his captain's decision to throw him in at four.

"It obviously makes a lot of sense with the team playing so well at Lord's. Just to swap straight in for KP makes a lot of sense," he said.

"The team's been playing some very good cricket, and it's just nice to be in the XI. It's been great to be in the squad, but now to get out there on the field is going to be nice."

Bell admits he has much to prove against England's Ashes rivals.

"Of all the countries I've played, I've played well apart from against Australia. I know that - it's in the back of my mind," he told Sky Sports News.

"This is a different Australian team than I've played in the past, but a very fine one as well.

"But cricket's a stats game, and I've got those stats to put right and to improve on."