Bell backs England to perform
Ian Bell believes England can erase memories of previous World Cup heartache over the next seven weeks - and points to the recent Ashes triumph as proof of the team’s ability to succeed where they have previously failed.
After suffering a 5-0 Ashes whitewash in 2006-07, England performed superbly this winter to claim a Test series win in Australia for the first time in 24 years.
Andrew Strauss’ side are now hoping to add a World Cup victory to their list of achievements and Bell expects them to improve on their disappointing performance in the Caribbean four years ago, when they departed at the Super Eights stage.
“I played in the World Cup last time, and it didn’t go to plan,” the Warwickshire batsman admitted.
“It was a little bit like going and playing in Australia and losing 5-0 - it was nice to go back and put that right.
“This is another opportunity for the guys who played in the last World Cup to do that same thing again.”
England will play their opening warm-up match in Fatullah tomorrow, with Canada providing the opposition.
Stuart Broad is struggling with a stomach upset and could miss out, while England also have minor concerns over the fitness of Tim Bresnan, Ajmal Shahzad and Paul Collingwood, who are all recovering from injuries sustained in Australia.
Graeme Swann is a definite absentee as he remains in England awaiting the birth of his first baby and England have deemed it wise to ask the International Cricket Council for special dispensation to pick standby pace bowler Chris Tremlett against Canada, if necessary.
Bell concedes there are complicating factors in selection, but believes the same positive approach which helped to set the tone in the Ashes tour matches is essential.
“It’s not ideal,” he said. “But when we go into these warm-up games we still have to have the same frame of mind as we did leading into the Ashes: to win them and do so convincingly.
“Okay, we’ve got a few injuries. But if our mindset is right about these warm-up games it will hold us in very good stead for this World Cup.”
Bell is confident Broad, who missed the final three Ashes Tests with a torn abdominal muscle, will soon recover.
He said: “Obviously he’s not feeling too good, but I’m sure over the next couple of days he’ll be back on his feet.
“He’s come down with something, but he’ll be fine and as energetic as anyone - having missed a fair bit of the winter - to really make a statement in this World Cup.”
Broad must have had fewer mixed feelings about sitting out an ODI series in which Bell accepts England fell well short as they slipped to a 6-1 defeat.
“We were taking it very seriously, there’s no doubt about that, and we were trying,” he said.
“But it didn’t quite work for us. I think with the batting we didn’t quite get those big partnerships we needed.
“People were playing well, but we were getting a lot of 20s and 30s, which aren’t going to win you one-day (matches).”
To succeed on the sub-continent, Bell senses the onus is on the batsmen.
“We’re going to have to play spin well in this World Cup, and play well up front,” he added.
“With the bowling attack we have at our disposal at the minute, if we get runs we have the people to win us games of cricket with the ball.
“We need to score big runs - and we’ll find a way of doing that. If we can do it as a batting unit, we’ll have some good success in this World Cup.”