Bell backs new-look order

Adam Gilchrist & Ian Bell

Ian Bell was one of the few batsmen to prosper against Australia © Getty Images

England batsman Ian Bell insists the experiment of pushing Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen up the order will eventually pay dividends.

England suffered their second defeat in the ICC Champions Trophy on Saturday, losing to Australia by six wickets after again failing to bat out their 50 overs.

Though Bell (43) and Andrew Strauss (56) had shared an opening stand of 83, England collapsed to 169 all out with Pietersen making one and Flintoff four.

But Bell is confident England’s big-hitting duo will come good in time for next year’s World Cup in the West Indies.

“The batting hasn’t really fired,” he said. “In terms of the World Cup it is definitely worth the experience because wickets out in the West Indies will be very similar to here in India.

”Any time they can get up the order, it’s great for us as a team. It has given them the experience and the confidence to do that.

“At times, we have got to get our big hitters and our best players in. I am all for it.”

Andrew Flintoff

Andrew Flintoff departs after falling cheaply in Saturday's defeat © Getty Images

England have won just three of their 17 one-day internationals this year and time is running out before the World Cup, which starts in March.

England lost their opening Champions Trophy game to India and are unlikely to qualify from the group stages, even if they beat West Indies on Saturday.

England would then have a maximum of 11 games in the VB Series, which follows the Ashes and also includes New Zealand, to get things right for the World Cup.

“It didn’t quite go to plan yesterday. That’s how it has gone in the last two games - we haven’t scored enough runs which has caused the problems,” Bell said.

“We have gone in with the right game plans but we just haven’t gone out there and achieved it.

“In one-day cricket, if you don’t bat your 50 overs through you will be in trouble. We have fallen short twice now. That is a major problem.”

But Bell insists Australia have not struck any kind of psychological blow in the build-up to the Ashes series.

“As a unit, the team spirit has been great. We really enjoy the fact we are out here and training hard with a big and exciting winter ahead,” he told BBC Radio Five Live.

“Fred (Flintoff) will be fully ready for the Ashes and the same with Harmy (Steve Harmison).

“They have had a bit of time off. Those guys are big-match players and they will be ready in Australia.”

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