England stalwart Ian Bell – perhaps the most stylish England batsman of his era – was last week dropped from England’s Test squad for the tour of South Africa, which starts in December.
Also missing out was Adil Rashid, who failed to make a big enough impression in the three Tests versus Pakistan in the UAE.
Five-time Ashes winner, Bell, 33, has played 118 Tests but has not scored a century in 23 innings. The Warwickshire batsman, who is eighth on England’s all-time highest run-scorers list, was “absolutely gutted” to miss out, but “determined” to win his place back.
National selector James Whitaker suggested this need not be the curtain call on Bell’s international career: “It was clearly a difficult decision but he has struggled for runs in recent series and we felt that it was the right time for him to take a break and spend time working on his game out of the spotlight.”
Freshly recalled Gary Balance and Nick Compton are likely to fight is out for Bell’s number three berth in South Africa, with the latter also in contention for an opening slot ahead of Alex Hales. Samit Patel and Moeen Ali, whom it is not unfair to label as “batting all-rounders”, have edged out Rashid.
So, we asked our followers last week in two separate Twitter polls whether Ian Bell and Adil Rashid deserved to be on the plane to South Africa – and it was a close call.
56% of our followers believed Bell should have been included in England’s Test squad against the Proteas, with 44% agreeing with the national selectors that he had not done enough despite the experience he could bring to a largely inexperienced side.
Incredibly, our Adil Rashid Twitter poll was a split decision, with 50% for and 50% against the non-selection of the Yorkshire leggie.
DID YOU MISS OUT ON THE POLL? TELL US BELOW WHAT YOU MADE OF THE NON-SELECTION OF BELL AND RASHID, AND ANY OTHER THOUGHTS YOU HAD ON ENGLAND’S TOUR PARTY FOR SOUTH AFRICA.